International relations – Creative Room 4 Talk Sat, 18 Sep 2021 07:21:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 International relations – Creative Room 4 Talk 32 32 In escalation of submarine deal, France recalls emissaries from US and Australia Sat, 18 Sep 2021 06:36:00 +0000

PARIS / CANBERRA / WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 (Reuters) – France plunged into an unprecedented diplomatic crisis with the United States and Australia on Friday after recalling its ambassadors from the two countries over a trilateral security agreement that sunk a French-designed submarine contract with Canberra.

The rare decision taken by French President Emmanuel Macron was taken because of the “exceptional gravity” of the case, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.

Australia on Thursday announced it would cancel a $ 40 billion deal signed in 2016 for the French naval group to build a fleet of conventional submarines and instead build at least eight nuclear-powered submarines with the technology. United States and Britain after entering into a trilateral security partnership. France called it a stab in the back.

A diplomatic source in France said it was the first time that Paris had recalled its own ambassadors in this way.

Australia said on Saturday morning it regretted the recall and appreciated the relationship with France and would continue to engage with Paris on other issues.

“Australia understands France’s deep disappointment at our decision, which was taken in accordance with our clear and communicated national security interests,” a spokeswoman for Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said France was a “vital ally” and that the United States would commit to resolving the differences in the coming days.

The French Foreign Ministry’s statement made no mention of Britain, but the diplomatic source said France considered Britain to have joined the deal opportunistically.

“We don’t need to consult our (British) ambassador to find out what to think or draw conclusions,” the source added.

Le Drian said the deal was unacceptable.

“The cancellation (of the project) (…) and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States intended to launch studies on a possible future cooperation on nuclear submarines, constitute unacceptable behavior between allies and partners, “he said in a statement. declaration.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attends a joint press conference at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, Germany, September 10, 2021. Jens Schlueter / Pool via REUTERS

He added that the consequences “directly affect our vision of our alliances, our partnerships and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe”.


The row marks the lowest point in Australia-France relations since 1995, when Canberra protested France’s decision to resume nuclear testing in the South Pacific and recalled its ambassador for consultations.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison dismissed French criticism that he had not been warned of the new deal on Friday and said he raised the possibility during talks with the French president that Australia could cancel the deal. agreement with Naval Group.

Morrison insisted he told Macron in June that Australia had revised his thinking.

“I was very clear, we had a long dinner over there in Paris, on our very important concerns about the capabilities of conventional submarines to cope with the new strategic environment we are facing,” he said. he declared on radio 5aa.

“I made it very clear that this is an issue that Australia should decide in our national interest.”

The tension in multilateral relations comes as the United States and its allies seek additional support in Asia and the Pacific, given concerns about the growing influence of a more assertive China.

France is set to take over the presidency of the European Union, which released its Indo-Pacific strategy on Thursday, pledging to seek a trade deal with Taiwan and deploy more ships to maintain sea routes open.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tried Thursday to calm the French outcry, calling France a key partner in the region.

Pierre Morcos, visiting researcher at the Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies, described France’s decision as “historic”.

“Reassuring words such as those heard yesterday by Secretary Blinken are not enough for Paris – especially after the French authorities learned that this agreement had been in preparation for months,” he said.

Reporting by Colin Packham, John Irish and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Robert Birsel, David Gregorio and Sonya Hepinstall

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Emirates news agency – UAE Ambassador and Argentine Foreign Minister discuss cooperation Fri, 17 Sep 2021 15:39:05 +0000

BUENOS AIRES, September 16, 2021 (WAM) – Saeed Abdullah Saif Al Qamzi, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Argentina, discussed with Felipe Solá, Argentine Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, a number of issues of common interest and ways to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

The meeting, held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital, Buenos Aires, discussed ways to further develop cooperation between the two countries, especially in the sectors of economy and investment. .

During the meeting, Felipe Solá highlighted the role of the Abu Dhabi Development Fund in the development of a number of infrastructure projects in various provinces of Argentina.

The two sides also discussed the latest regional and international developments and exchanged views on topics of common interest. In this context, Ambassador Al Qamzi said that the UAE’s vision is based on cooperation, tolerance and prosperity.

The meeting also discussed Argentina’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai and planned high-level visits by senior Argentinian officials to the United Arab Emirates, including a visit by President Alberto Fernández.

The two sides also discussed various ways to develop bilateral relations and improve the level of cooperation between the two countries.

WAM / Lina ibrahim / MOHD AAMIR / Hazem Hussein

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YouTube Tools for Learning a Foreign Language – India Education | Latest Education News | Global education news Fri, 17 Sep 2021 03:32:40 +0000

The students of the “International Relations” and “Sociology” directions organized a master class, the aim of which was to discover the possibilities of using the YouTube platform for a more fun and productive study of a foreign language.
The event was organized by teachers of the Department of Foreign Languages ​​of Humanities EP Shishmolina, IE Abramova and AV Ananyina. A working group consisting of Ivan Pavlov, Valeria Chashkina, Ksenia Abrashitova, Ekaterina Lebedeva, Daria Kononova, Ksenia Anischenko, Anna Makashova, Anastasia Olenyuk, Ulyana Vasilyeva, Kristina Ufimtseva, Victoria Zakrevskaya and Demyan Karpov got acquainted with the training group 22, which was launched by the “International Relations” students.

The 22Project YouTube channel posted videos in English on topical socio-political issues. The master class participants analyzed the work done by their colleagues and discussed how this educational work format helps not only to hone public speaking skills, but also to learn how to correctly select information, to critically assess Internet sources, analyze the data collected and visualize the results of their work in a form that is understandable and interesting to a wide audience. Another advantage of such a project is that it allows students to try their hand in a variety of genres – from podcasts to interviews – and attract students to cooperation not only from other areas of PetrSU, but also other universities.

22Project is a great example of how a group of students, on their own initiative, can turn into a quality project with a huge base of videos crafted to perfection. All the members of this YouTube channel are nice and, most importantly, interesting to listen to. They are quite young, but they are well acquainted with the material they pass on to the public and in turn are given a share of the positive and nourishment for the spirit.

There is truly something special about the works of 22Project, a kind of zest that inspires and fills life with alternate meanings, which you rarely think of in your routine. Plus, it’s great to know that the team at this channel is made up of regular students who are literally a year older than us. It at least gives the motivation to prove that you are worth something too.

Students pay attention to a wide variety of topics in their videos. They consider both the political and social spheres of society. For example, they created a series of videos dedicated to the pressing topic of our time – the coronavirus. They discussed the predictions and tried to determine the consequences of the pandemic.

There is no doubt that the writers are talented and creative, as evidenced by their approach. Every video, even on the same subject, looks unique. In addition, it is worth noting their mastery of a foreign language. All show what they have learned during the training period. We hope that in the future they will not lose this fervor and continue to improve in learning the language and use it competently in future projects. We wish the 22projet team every success,

– noted the organizers of the master class.

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“Stab in the back”: French fury as Australia cancels the agreement on submarines | France Thu, 16 Sep 2021 17:43:00 +0000

France has expressed fury at Australia’s surprise decision to quash a massive submarine deal in favor of the United States’ nuclear-powered submarines, describing it as “a stab in the eye.” backs “of Canberra and a strain on its friendly relations with Washington.

“It’s really a stab in the back. We had established a relationship of trust with Australia, this trust has been betrayed, “French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Info on Thursday.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell also expressed disappointment, revealing that he only learned of the new alliance from the media.

“This alliance, we have just been made aware and we have not even been consulted,” he said. “As a senior security representative, I was not aware of this and guess that a deal of this nature did not happen overnight. I think it would have worked for quite a while.

“We regret that we were not informed – that we did not participate in these talks,” Borrell said. “We weren’t included, we weren’t part of it.

The announcement of a defense pact between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia brutally and unexpectedly ended the French submarine contract of 90 billion Australian dollars (48 billion pounds sterling ) with Australia, signed in 2016.

This is a setback for French President Emmanuel Macron, not only financially but also for French diplomacy, who had been working for years to secure the partnership with Australia and strengthen its strategic presence in the Indo-Pacific region. .

A French official said discussions on the issue took place today between France and Australia, and France and the United States at ministerial level.

Le Drian said: “I am very angry and bitter today… it’s not something the allies do to each other.”

He added: “This sudden, unpredictable one-sided move is very reminiscent of what Mr. Trump would do,” referring to the former US president who infuriated Europe with unpredictable decision-making.

Asked by journalists if Paris had been “duped” by Washington on what Le Drian called a “contract of the century” for French shipyards, the minister replied: “Your analysis of the situation is more or less correct.

The move by the US, UK and Australia highlights growing concerns about China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region, where France is also seeking to protect its interests, which include the territories of China. overseas of New Caledonia and French Polynesia. France is the only European country present in the region, with nearly 2 million French citizens and more than 7,000 soldiers.

Le Drian said France and its allies were working on a “coherent and structured Indo-Pacific policy” in the face of Beijing’s growing regional power.

“We were discussing this with the United States just recently, and here is the break,” Le Drian said, calling it “a huge breach of trust.”

“We will need clarification. We have contracts – the Australians have to tell us how they plan to do it, ”he added.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly called Australia’s about-face “very bad news in terms of keeping his word”, adding that France has “clear eyes on how United States treat their allies “.

“In terms of geopolitics and international relations, it’s serious,” she told RFI radio on Thursday.

The two ministers appeared on television and radio in France Thursday morning after issuing an angry statement overnight. In their joint declaration, the French Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense condemned this decision as contrary to “the letter and the spirit of cooperation” between France and Australia.

They had harsh words for Washington: “The American decision, which leads to the exclusion of a European ally and partner like France from a crucial partnership with Australia at a time when we are facing unprecedented challenges in the region. Indo-Pacific, must be based on our values ​​or respect for multilateralism based on the rule of law, signals a lack of coherence that France can only observe and regret.

Parly and Le Drian denounced Canberra’s “regrettable” approach, stressing the need to strengthen “European strategic autonomy”.

“There is no other credible way to defend our interests and values ​​in the world, including the Indo-Pacific,” they said.

UK insists relations with France are 'solid' after Aukus defense pact - video
UK insists relations with France are ‘solid’ after Aukus defense pact – video

Biden, in an attempt to appease Paris, said France was a “key partner and ally” in the Asia-Pacific region.

Macron is due to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel later Thursday, where talks were already scheduled to include European defense. Macron has repeatedly said that Europe needs to develop its own strategic and defense capabilities to be less dependent on the United States.

The UK has said it has not sought to antagonize France, which has key defense cooperation with the UK. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace acknowledged French “frustration” with the deal, but insisted Britain had not sought to disrupt Paris’ relations with Australia.

“We didn’t look for those opportunities, basically the Australians decided they wanted a different ability,” he told Sky News. “We have no intention of doing anything to upset the French – the French are among our closest military allies in Europe.”

Borrell, whose announcement of an EU strategy for the Indo-Pacific region has been overshadowed by development, said Brussels wanted closer cooperation with the UK but they were reluctantly welcomed to London.

“It takes two to tango – but on our side, we’re ready to dance,” he said.

He added that the alliance underlined the need for the EU to strengthen its autonomy of action in the world and that the deal would be discussed by leaders in the weeks and months to come.

France is seven months away from a presidential election where Macron is expected to stand for re-election and political opposition groups seized with the abrupt end of the submarine contract to attack the government.

Far-right Marine Le Pen called it a “political disaster” and “public humiliation” for France, as well as “very serious damage to its image as an industrial power”.

Benoît Arrivé, the socialist mayor of Cherbourg, told Agence France-Presse that it was an “industrial and human disappointment” and “a real slap in the face for French foreign policy”.

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Wits student selected for prestigious international student award Wed, 15 Sep 2021 07:30:58 +0000

Through Chulumanco Mahamba 1h ago

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Johannesburg – A student from Wits University has been selected in the top 50 for a new award given to an outstanding student who has had a real impact on learning, the lives of his peers and society beyond.

Obakeng Leseyane, 23, was selected from 3,500 applications and nominations from 94 countries, and was included in the list of the top 50 applicants for the Global Student Prize 2021.

The prize is the twin prize of the Global Teacher Prize, launched by the Varkey Foundation, to create a new platform that highlights the efforts of extraordinary students from around the world who, together, are reshaping our world for the better.

Inspired by the power of education as an equalizer, the political and international relations student began hosting workshops and briefings in Rustenburg to help others access the same opportunities as him. Leseyane has organized digital events and campaigns that have encouraged over 300 students to enroll in high school or college.

Leseyane’s activism led him to be named ‘Young Leader to Watch’ by FastCompany South Africa, selected as the youngest inaugural Civil Service Fellow for Southern Africa, and he also won the Doha debates on water scarcity in 2019.

“In this age of Covid, students like Obakeng have shown great courage to keep studying and keep fighting for a better future despite enormous obstacles. The Global Student Prize was launched to highlight their stories and listen to their voices. After all, it is their dreams, ideas and creativity that will help solve some of the greatest questions humanity has ever faced, ”said Lila Thomas, Director of

Thomas added that this year’s finalists have made a huge impact in areas such as the environment, equality and justice, health and welfare, education and skills and the empowerment of people. youth to poverty eradication.

“It is only by prioritizing education that we will be able to safeguard all of our tomorrows. Education is the key to facing the future with confidence, ”said Varkey Foundation founder Sunny Varkey.

Going forward, Leseyane plans to serve in government as Minister of Education and in 2024 he intends to run as an MP. If he wins the Global Student Prize, he said he would use the funds to provide the children of Rustenburg with a new school uniform to build their social confidence and renew their dignity.

The top 10 finalists for the Global Student Prize and the Global Teacher Prize will be announced in October. The winners of the two prizes will be chosen from the top 10 respective finalists by the Global Student Prize Academy and the Global Teacher Prize Academy, composed of prominent personalities. The winners are expected to be announced at an awards ceremony in Paris in November.


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Afghanistan Crisis Live Updates | Collapse of Afghan economy a “gift for terrorists”, says UN chief Sat, 11 Sep 2021 02:38:00 +0000

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called for an injection of money into Afghanistan to avoid an economic collapse that would trigger a “catastrophic” situation for the Afghan people and be a “gift to terrorist groups”.

His remarks come after his special envoy for Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, warned the Security Council on Thursday that freezing billions of dollars in international Afghan assets to keep them out of the hands of the Taliban would inevitably trigger “a severe economic downturn “.

Read also : The fall of Afghanistan, the fallout in West Asia

The UN chief also called on all countries to engage with the Taliban and deliver the same message: the Afghan people must live in peace under an inclusive government that respects basic human rights, including for women and girls, and Afghanistan should not be a sanctuary for terrorism anymore and should play a constructive role in international relations.

Read also : News analysis | Message from the Taliban to the world – We have not changed

The United States facilitated the departure of 21 U.S. nationals and 11 green card holders on Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. (LPR), “Blinken said in a statement. Measles cases, however, are disrupting flights to the United States of Afghan evacuees. The United States on Friday halted flights to the United States, withdrawing some planes, after discovering a few cases of measles among newcomers to the United States.

Read also : explained | Who is Mullah Hassan Akhund? What does the Taliban’s choice of interim prime minister for Afghanistan mean?

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh discussed with Australian Defense Minister the fragile security situation in Afghanistan and their “common concerns” over the spread of terrorism from the Taliban-ruled country. Singh told Peter Dutton that the rise of the Taliban poses serious security concerns for India and the region, as terrorist groups with bases in Afghanistan could get additional support to expand their activities.

Here are the latest developments:

10:15 a.m.

Taliban victory in Afghanistan could embolden other groups in different parts of the world, UN chief says

The Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan could embolden other groups in different parts of the world, warned Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, expressing concern over global terrorism while saying dialogue with the militant group is “absolutely essential” because the The UN wants the country to play a “constructive role” in international relations.

“I have to tell you that I am very worried about what we are seeing in different parts of the world. And the fact that in Afghanistan the Taliban were able to win might embolden other groups in different parts of the world regardless of the fact that they are different from the Taliban and I don’t see that there is a similarity between them ”, Mr. Guterres said. said at a press conference Friday at the UN headquarters.

“We have seen several of them, not only praising the Taliban, but showing stronger enthusiasm for their own abilities,” he said.


8:15 a.m.

US envoy congratulates Qatar on flights to Afghanistan

More than 250 foreign nationals have left Afghanistan in the past three days, said Zalmay Khalilzad, Washington’s special envoy and architect of an often-criticized deal with the Taliban.

In a series of tweets, Khalilzad praised both the Middle Eastern state of Qatar, whose national airline has carried out the flights, and the “Taliban’s cooperation in this important effort”, for the recent departure of foreign nationals of Afghanistan.


US gives first public glimpse inside Afghan base

A man walks with a child in the village of Doña Ana de Fort Bliss, home to Afghan refugees, in New Mexico.

A man walks with a child in the village of Doña Ana de Fort Bliss, home to Afghan refugees, in New Mexico. | Photo credit: AP

The Biden administration on Friday provided the first public glimpse inside a US military base where Afghans airlifted out of Afghanistan are screened, amid questions about how the government is caring for refugees and control.

“All of the Afghans who are here with us have had a difficult journey and now face the very real challenges of adjusting to life in the United States,” Liz Gracon, a senior official in the US Department, told reporters. State.

The three-hour visit to the Fort Bliss military base in El Paso, Texas was the first time the media have been granted wide access to one of eight US military facilities housing Afghans.


7:45 a.m.

Measles cases disrupt Afghan evacuee flights to US

The United States halted Afghan evacuee flights to the United States on Friday, withdrawing some of the planes, after discovering a few cases of measles among new arrivals to the United States.

A U.S. government document viewed by The Associated Press warned the development would have a serious impact on an evacuation which, since Aug. 15, has displaced several thousand people out of Taliban-held Afghanistan, but has also been exhausting for Afghan evacuees and Americans, and has been plagued by attacks and other deadly violence.

The decision was made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



Rise of Taliban raises serious security concerns for India and region: Rajnath in talks with Australian counterpart

Defense ministers of India and Australia on Friday discussed the fragile security situation in Afghanistan and their “common concerns” over the spread of terrorism from the Taliban-ruled country, the growing claim. China in the Indo-Pacific and the means to intensify bilateral defense relations. , according to official sources.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh with his Australian counterpart Peter Dutton after the latter received the guard of honor at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on September 10.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh with his Australian counterpart Peter Dutton after the latter received the guard of honor at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on September 10. | Photo credit: PTI

Singh told Dutton that the rise of the Taliban poses serious security concerns for India and the region, as terrorist groups with bases in Afghanistan could get additional support to expand their activities, they said. declared.


7:15 a.m.

UN refugee chief says agency will engage with Taliban

The head of the UN refugee agency said on Friday that UNHCR would engage with the Taliban to provide assistance to millions of displaced Afghans.

Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also said his agency had so far not observed large numbers of Afghans trying to cross to other countries, but warned that the situation could change if conditions in the country deteriorate.

“The number one priority for my organization is to step up, to step up our humanitarian work to help the displaced … Winter is approaching. It is very cold in Afghanistan during the winter, ”said Mr. Grandi.



Another Qatar Airways charter flight leaves Kabul with 19 US citizens

The United States facilitated the departure of 21 U.S. nationals and 11 green card holders on Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

“As part of our continued engagement, today we facilitated the departure from Afghanistan of 21 US citizens and 11 Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs),” Blinken said in a statement.

Specifically, the department assisted two U.S. citizens and 11 LPRs to leave Afghanistan by land route, he said, adding that the department provided them with advice, worked to facilitate their safe passage and that embassy officials greeted them once they crossed the border.

In addition, another Qatar Airways charter flight took off from Kabul with 19 US citizens on board.



American Indians play key role in resettlement of Afghan refugees in California

A California American Indian leading Afghan refugee resettlement in the city of Fremont on Friday congratulated President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on evacuating thousands of Afghans who had helped states -United in their war on terrorism for 20 years.

“President Biden, Secretary Blinken and our troops led an airlift that evacuated tens of thousands more people than imagined possible. We look forward to welcoming our Afghan allies to their new homes in Fremont, California, and other parts of the United States and continue to work with Afghan community organizations to help refugees and Afghans bring peace to all, ”community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria said during of a webinar hosted by the State Department with him.


6 o’clock in the morning

Nations should carry Taliban message, says UN chief

The UN chief said all countries should engage with the Taliban and deliver the same message: The Afghan people should live in peace under an inclusive government that respects basic human rights, including for women and girls , and Afghanistan should no longer be a sanctuary for terrorism and should play a constructive role in international relations.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres said at a press conference on Friday “that it is important that regardless of different strategies, different forms of contact, all countries are able to convey the same message and engage. with the Taliban effectively ”.

He said the UN “is constantly engaged with the Taliban and we believe that a dialogue with the Taliban is absolutely essential at this time.”


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“Like Game of Thrones”: How China’s Triple Border Crisis Will Shape Its Global Identity | China Wed, 08 Sep 2021 02:02:00 +0000

First it was North Korea. Then came Myanmar. It is now Afghanistan. The three ongoing crises in China’s neighborhood seem to have little in common. But for Beijing, they pose the same question: how to deal with strategically important but failing states at its border, and how China’s response will define its identity as a global power.

For many years, Chinese observers in the West have sought clues as to how a rising power will exert its influence on the world stage through its involvement in Africa or its relationship with the United States. But the way China approaches the three neighboring countries can provide a clearer picture.

“Afghanistan, Myanmar and North Korea are all tests for China as a rising superpower: whether Beijing, at a time of US withdrawal, can cleverly fill the void,” Thant said. Myint-U, a well-known Burmese. historian and former presidential adviser.

“We have seen the Western approach to failed states, rooted in ideas around elections, democracy and human rights, but we don’t really know what China would do, which over the past decades has was reluctant to export its own development model. instead of.”

Taliban claim victory over last resistance stronghold in Panjshir province - video
Taliban claim victory over last resistance stronghold in Panjshir province – video

China’s approach so far has been cautious and conventional. Regarding Afghanistan, he urged the international community to “actively guide” the Taliban. On Myanmar, he is proposing economic development after blocking outright condemnation of the coup at the UN Security Council in March. And as for North Korea, the two countries pledged in July to strengthen their cooperation on the 60th anniversary of the signing of their treaty of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance.

China’s influence in these three countries is very different in nature. Unlike Afghanistan, with which China shares a tiny border, the border regions with North Korea and Myanmar have a long history of interaction.

“In Myanmar, China’s main interests are to ensure a certain degree of stability and to ensure that no other great power is a best friend to whoever is in charge. Beijing’s geopolitical ambitions to make Myanmar a bridge to the Indian Ocean are secondary to its millennial practice of dealing with barbaric conflicts along its southwest border, ”said Thant Myint-U, who is also the author of Hidden History of Burma.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) stands alongside his Burmese counterpart U Wunna Maung Lwin at one of the meetings marking the 30th anniversary of formal China-ASEAN relations in June. Photograph: Huang Wei / AP

Yun Sun, who heads the China program at the Stimson Center think tank, agreed. She said China’s main concern was the security of its borders, followed by a potential refugee crisis. In 2009, for example, the deadly Kokang clash in Myanmar resulted in as many as 30,000 refugees flocking to China. “Beijing will follow this very closely in the coming months if the situation continues to deteriorate in these countries,” she said.

In the case of Afghanistan, Beijing is still debating the extent to which it should actively engage with the Taliban regime. “I don’t think China will establish diplomatic relations with the Taliban,” Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Afghan Research Center at Lanzhou University, said in answering a question from a Chinese netizen last month. “[At least] not in the short term, ”he added.

Critics say that as an already important power, China will sooner or later face diplomatic dilemmas with Afghanistan in the months and years to come. “China is already a big boy, and people expect her to act like a big boy. Like it or not, its economic and political weight will naturally guide management, ”said Raffaello Pantuucci, senior researcher at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “But it looks like Beijing is continuing to hedge its bets.”

So far, there are few signs that Beijing’s approach will resemble Washington’s. This week, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he believed US troops “would return to Afghanistan” in the future. “We will have to do it, because the threat will be so great,” he told the BBC.

US Senator Lindsey Graham said this week that he believed US troops
US Senator Lindsey Graham said this week he believes US troops will “return to Afghanistan” in the future Photograph: Lenin Nolly / ZUMA Press Wire / REX / Shutterstock

If that happens, it may well play a role in China’s book, said Enze Han of the University of Hong Kong, summing up Beijing’s take on Washington’s military involvement in global conflicts. “Beijing probably wants to see the United States get bogged down in Afghanistan again. And even in the worst-case scenario, Beijing is extremely unlikely to get involved in Afghanistan the way the United States has.

“In the case of Myanmar, the Covid as well as the political crises make the country more likely to look like a failed state. China believes there is little that it can do to prevent this from happening. And once that happens, it will work to find ways to turn a crisis into an opportunity. “

It is clear that Beijing’s pragmatic foreign policy doctrine will not change anytime soon, and its response to events in these failed three states will inevitably lead commentators in Western democracies to draw their own conclusions about how China will behave then. that it establishes its new identity. as a major global player.

But from Beijing’s perspective, such an approach could also be its strategic trump card, Sun said. “It’s like in Game of Thrones: regimes come and go, but China as a neighbor is here forever. If the West now wants to influence these countries, they have to go through Beijing. These are all the cards of China in this changing dynamic with the West.

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]]> 0 India relies on health diplomacy to expand its presence in Africa Sat, 04 Sep 2021 05:04:28 +0000

As COVID-19 continues to rage across Africa and developed countries consistently withhold vaccines from low-income countries, India is using health diplomacy as a way to tighten its grip on the African continent and consolidate its position as a world power.

More than a year after the onset of the world’s most devastating health crisis, and as developed countries advance vaccine nationalism at the expense of hundreds of low-income countries (the majority of which are in Africa), the India, recognized as the world’s pharmacy, is changing tack by devoting its medical supplies to the African continent either in the form of gifts or at subsidized rates.

Beyond the gesture, analysts predict that this health diplomacy is a strategy used by India to gain a foothold on the continent, arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic has given it an ideal opportunity to do so.

Historical links

Indo-African relations date back to colonial times when the two regions struggled against their oppression by colonial rulers.

When India gained independence, it made its voice heard at the United Nations by pushing for the decolonization of Africa. Even as it struggled to build itself after colonialism, India was sharing its meager resources with Africa through South-South cooperation.

India has also been actively involved in supporting South Africans’ struggle against apartheid.

This cooperation has been cultivated over the decades, which has seen India’s total trade with Africa grow from $ 6 billion in 2003 to $ 76.9 billion in 2018. India is currently the third largest. Africa’s trading partner, investing in ICT, agriculture, peacekeeping and manufacturing, among others.

India now boasts of a large diaspora on the African continent, which has made significant economic and humanitarian contributions.

“India knows that it has a strategic position in its relations with Africa. Unlike Western countries which bear the burden of colonialism and China which has been accused of advancing debt trap diplomacy, [India] maintains cordial relations with the continent, ”said Gerald Makau, expert in international relations. “Health diplomacy therefore gives [India] a perfect opportunity to advance its agenda in Africa.

Indian pharmaceutical empire

In the health field, India is now one of the major global players, manufacturing 60% of the world’s vaccines and producing generic drugs at low cost, which it can do due to the low manufacturing costs at home. within its borders. India has made its products affordable, sometimes costing a fraction of what Western pharmaceuticals charge.

It is estimated that 20 percent of India’s pharmaceutical exports, worth $ 17 billion, go to Africa. This includes antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.

India has also partnered in health centers with top medical providers who work with their African peers through training, capacity building and opening of specialized health centers across Africa. .

The affordable healthcare system has also enabled millions of Africans to access Indian hospitals to receive treatment for various illnesses, including cancer and heart disease.

Advancing Medical Diplomacy Through COVID-19

The pandemic has, however, given India a powerful platform to expand its power and influence in Africa as it seeks to dilute the growing Chinese influence.

India was one of the first countries to send medicine, essential supplies and food to Africa after the pandemic. Earlier this year, India unveiled the Vaccine Maitri, a campaign bringing India-made vaccines to developing countries, including Africa.

More than three dozen African countries, including South Africa, Morocco and Kenya, have received vaccines as gifts or supplies at subsidized rates at a time when vaccine nationalism and countries hoarding vaccines developed are frustrating global efforts to fight the pandemic.

Through the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, India produced the Covishield vaccine – a variety adapted from the British vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, which saw the country launch an aggressive drive for vaccine equity.

As part of COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, COVAX, a global initiative to ensure equitable access to vaccines, India signed an agreement last year for the Serum Institute to produce 1 billion CoviShield vaccines. Half of the doses should be distributed in middle and low income countries.

As part of the deal, India agreed to charge only production costs. And although this campaign has faced headwinds with India restricting exports as it battles a wave of COVID-19 cases in the country, it says it remains committed to its fairness plan. in terms of previous vaccines.

Flexing muscles on the world stage

“Aggressive health and vaccine diplomacy comes at a time when India seeks a permanent seat on the UN Security Council,” Makkau said.

“He recently got the non-permanent seat. That, and the fact that it is hosting the G20 summit in 2023 means that it is positioning itself by declaring that it deserves to be recognized for being an active player in times of global emergency, ”he added. .

Makau further claims that India’s latest diplomatic effort sends a message to China in the wake of recent geopolitical tensions, signaling that it is a powerful force on the world stage.

Image by: Satheesh Sankaran

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China’s regional position gives US a chance to deepen ties with Vietnam Wed, 01 Sep 2021 04:01:13 +0000

Vietnam Updates

When Kamala Harris landed in Vietnam last week, she had already been eclipsed. Just hours before his plane landed, the Chinese ambassador in Hanoi met with the Vietnamese prime minister to pledge to pledge 2 million doses of the Covid vaccine – a donation double the size Harris was to announce the next day .

Beijing’s vaccine diplomacy is the clearest sign to date of its attempts to slow down the unprecedented rapprochement between Hanoi and Washington.

Almost 50 years after the end of a long and destructive war, Vietnam and the United States are embarking on an increasingly deep security partnership. This involved US warships visiting Vietnamese ports, their navies training together, and the United States equipping and training the Hanoi Coast Guard to better protect their economic interests in the disputed South China Sea from encroachment. Chinese.

China, which claims almost all of the South China Sea and sees the region as its sphere of influence, is stepping back to maintain Vietnam’s neutrality. Hanoi has a “four no’s” policy, according to which it will have no military alliance, no foreign military base in its territory, no alignment with one country to counter another, and no force or threat to use force in them. international relationships. Vietnam’s foreign policy doctrine also states that there is room for cooperation with countries with which it otherwise struggles, and that there are conflicting interests even with partners – a concept that calls for relationships. balanced between China and the United States.

But in the face of growing assertiveness from China, Hanoi has sometimes been tempted to change course. Tensions began to mount in 2014 when China decided to drill for oil in waters claimed by the Vietnamese, which led to a violent standoff at sea. Last year, the friction became evident again when a boat Vietnamese fishing vessel sank after being struck by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel.

“China does not respect a friendly neighborly relationship and asserts its claims, so it becomes more difficult for Vietnam to maintain this very delicate balance,” Huong Le Thu, senior analyst at ASPI, a think tank backed by the Australian Department of Defense. “There is a limit to the hypothesis” that Vietnam refrains from alliances in this context, she added.

Hanoi hinted at it. “Depending on the specific circumstances and conditions, Vietnam will consider developing necessary and appropriate defense and military relations with other countries,” the government said in its December 2019 defense white paper.

Beijing has taken note of this. Chinese diplomats, government officials, and analysts frequently point to the potential for cooperation between China and Vietnam and call on Hanoi to stick to its four no’s doctrine. In June, the Chinese Minister of Commerce highlighted the benefits of strengthening economic exchanges between the two countries.

Beijing also likes to describe the ruling Communist parties in Vietnam and China as natural partners sharing ideological values ​​and on the lookout for any US ploy to foment regime change.

The problem for Beijing is the Vietnamese public. The Vietnamese are more skeptical of China than any other country in Southeast Asia, and their concerns are growing.

In a survey released earlier this year, 90 percent of Vietnamese said they were worried about China’s growing economic influence, the highest of any country in the region, and 92 percent said they praised the influence of the United States, again by far the highest among countries in Southeast Asia. A recent study of Chinese and American public diplomacy efforts found that the Vietnamese are much more receptive to American social media accounts than the Chinese.

But such sentiment is unlikely to bring Vietnam into America’s arms.

“Vietnam is very careful not to allow a complete deterioration of relations with China,” said Lynn Kuok, senior researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore. She believes Vietnam will not improve its security relationship with the United States to a level it would describe as “strategic” – the strongest it can be characterized without an alliance – over the next five years.

The main reason is the economy. Vietnam is more economically dependent on China, its neighbor and main trading partner, than on the United States. Experts say that could change with the US re-engagement with the TPP, the regional trade deal from which Donald Trump’s administration has withdrawn, as well as efforts to attract more investment to Vietnam in the part of a realignment of US supply chains away from China.

“The United States has been successful in strengthening its ties with Vietnam and will continue to be able to do so if it plays its cards right. But there is no real economic strategy, ”said Kuok. “This weakens the overall US engagement in the region, and it needs to fix it.”

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Russia seeks to fill power vacuum in Afghanistan as US pulls out Sat, 28 Aug 2021 07:02:00 +0000

TOKYO – As the Taliban seize power in Afghanistan, Russia has stepped in as a mediator in the war-torn country, emphasizing its position as a key player and barely hiding its desire to expand its influence in the region to fill the void left by power. by the retreating US military.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently trolled Western countries and their dismal efforts to establish a democratic government in Afghanistan.

“I think a lot of politicians in the West are starting to grab hold of [with the reality that] it is unacceptable to impose foreign standards of political life and conduct on other countries and nations, “the president said at a press conference on August 20 after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

After the Taliban seized the capital Kabul and declared victory on August 15, Putin unleashed a storm of diplomatic efforts to capitalize on the new momentum.

The president tried to show the international community his ability to restore order in Afghanistan after the chaotic withdrawal of American troops by speaking by telephone with the leaders of Uzbekistan, Iran, Tajikistan, the France and Italy.

Putin criticized Western countries’ Afghan policies during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow on August 20. © Reuters

While most Western countries struggled to evacuate staff from the Afghan embassy, ​​the Russian embassy in Kabul was doing business as usual. Russian Ambassador Dmitry Zhirnov said on August 15: “We will continue to work here calmly.

Zhirnov explained his decision, noting that “at the moment there are no immediate threats against our staff or our facilities.” He also said he had gained some confidence with the insurgents through talks with Taliban officials on August 17.

In another sign that the Kremlin is preparing for the Taliban’s return to power, President Putin’s special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, said Moscow has been working to establish “contacts with the Taliban movement for seven years”. He added that Russia expected the Taliban “to play a leading role in the future of Afghanistan”.

Moscow has designated the Taliban as a terrorist organization and banned them in Russia. Yet the government unofficially hosted a Taliban delegation to Moscow in July.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, greets Taliban representative Alhaj Mohammad Sohail Shaina at multilateral peace talks in Moscow on November 9, 2018 © Reuters

Russia is reaping the benefits of its years of meticulous preparation for a diplomatic offensive in the event of an American withdrawal from the country.

As his intervention in the Syrian civil war indicates, Putin’s goal is to have a major footprint in the region. The Kremlin has already started to use its power to influence the situation in Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban began to gain ground in early August, the Russian military has conducted joint exercises with Uzbek, Tajik and Chinese forces in areas bordering Afghanistan. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan – two of the five former Soviet republics in Central Asia – are considered by Moscow to be within its sphere of influence. Russia also has a military alliance with Tajikistan.

All these countries fear that the Taliban or other Muslim militants hidden in Afghanistan will take advantage of the current confusion to infiltrate their territory, disrupting border areas. Through military exercises, Russia has gained international recognition as the guardian of the nations of Central Asia.

Additionally, Putin attempted to portray the US-Afghan debacle as a sign of Washington’s waning influence in the region. Putin’s account of US withdrawal includes veiled reference to Ukraine’s dependence on the United States

Despite its growing profile in the region, it can be said that Russia was not so keen to enter the treacherous political waters of the region. Moscow is simply concerned that the emergence of a serious security threat to Central Asia – its backyard – threatens its own well-being.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has warned of the possibility of terrorists in Afghanistan entering Russia via Tajikistan, Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan. For Russians, the current situation rekindles bitter memories of the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslim militants in the 1990s and 2000s.

The question is whether Russia will be able to achieve a stable outcome in Afghanistan and other parts of Central Asia while strengthening its influence in the region.

Putin knows full well that Afghanistan presents a formidable challenge, a fragmented political landscape ruled by regional warlords fighting for supremacy.

In 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in an ill-fated 10-year war that claimed the lives of over 14,000 Soviets before Moscow surrendered. Many Russians have yet to overcome the trauma of the war in Afghanistan, which was one of the factors leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Some Russians now feel a sense of déjà vu and warn of a repeat of the disastrous conflict.

Uzbekistan armored personnel carriers train in joint military exercises with Russia and Tajikistan on August 10. © AP

The unfolding scenario is worrying on several levels. First, Afghanistan has become ripe for terrorist groups, which is the reason for Moscow’s joint military exercises with its neighbors. Afghanistan is already swarming with waves of refugees. Neighboring Tajikistan has built a facility to accommodate the crowds, which includes many people who cannot be properly controlled.

Uzbekistan also serves as a transfer point for people fleeing Afghanistan. In the 1990s and 2000s, the country suffered attacks from armed and impoverished citizens angry at government corruption and the dictatorial regime. Although the government has succeeded in restoring law and order, it remains committed to eradicating all sources of terrorism. Uzbekistan is also very concerned about Afghan refugees and is one of the few countries that has not signed the Refugee Convention.

Another concern of Moscow is drug trafficking. Afghanistan is one of the biggest producers of opium, which has been a key source of funding for the Taliban.

The Taliban have reportedly promised Russia to eradicate drug production, but cracking down on the criminal organizations involved in trafficking will not be easy.

The biggest worry for Russia, however, is the uncertainty of the Taliban regime. It is still too early to say whether Putin’s strategy for Afghanistan will lead to a diplomatic victory or anything much darker.

One thing is clear: Putin has no choice but to devote massive resources to his security and intelligence agencies to ensure a favorable outcome in Central Asia.

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