AP Journalist

Tokyo Olympics are a success but PM Suga’s support has plummeted to an all-time low due to lapse in COVID handling
Asia Pacific Focus

Tokyo Olympics are a success but PM Suga’s support has plummeted to an all-time low due to lapse in COVID handling

Government of Yoshihide Suga, the Prime Minister of Japan, is losing public support as the support has plummeted to an all-time low. This is despite support from a large group of population on going ahead with the Tokyo Olympics during Coronavirus pandemic amid rising case numbers.

The Games that ended on Sunday were hoped to bring in glory for the Suga government, but support for his cabinet has dipped below 30%. This fall in rating is lowest since Suga took office in last September. The reason of this rating drop is attributed to the response by government over recent rise in number of Covid-19 cases amid surge in Delta variant caseload.

Recently a poll was conducted by Asahi Shimbun that showed cabinet approval had dropped to 28%, three percentage down from that of last month. Furthermore, 56% said that they supported decision of going ahead with Games. Japan won a record 58 medals in Tokyo Olympics that ended on this Sunday. But surge in Covid-19 cases during the Games didn’t lie on line as per promises of Suga of holding “safe and secure” Olympics. The surge is massive and has increased pressure on hospitals and healthcare system. Two-thirds of surveyed people said that they did not agree with pandemic handling approach by the government.

It is also believed that the 16 days while Games were being conducted, people were less vigilant of the pandemic and let their guard down over Covid-19 measures, leading to surge in cases. In response, Hidemasa Nakamura, the Tokyo 2020 delivery officer says that positivity rate among competing athletes and Olympic visitors was 0.02%. This is an evidence that Games were held safely. But, during the same time Japan recorded case rise by 170,000.

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Due to pressure on hospitals, currently only those Covid-19 patients with serious symptoms are being admitted and treated at hospitals. This has spread panic across people that they might not be able to receive adequate medical intervention on time if their condition deteriorated rapidly. Over 45,000 people with mild symptoms are at present in home isolation in Japan.

American Strike At Syrian-Iraq Border Triggers Panic Amongst Iranian Proxies
Middle East & Africa

American Strike At Syrian-Iraq Border Triggers Panic Amongst Iranian Proxies

Hezbollah has turned around and called the US action in Syria and Iraq as shameless brazen insult to the sovereignty of both countries. Earlier in the month, American warplanes had struck one location in Iraq and two in Syria along the Arab countries’ border. It was Pentagon’s affirmation that the targets were ‘facilities’ being used by Iraqi resistance groups to stage drone attacks on American interests.

According to an official statement by US defense spokesman John Kirby, three military facilities used by Iran-backed militia had been hit — two in Syria and one in Iraq.

In response, American facilities at the Syria-Iraqi border have been under attack by the Hezbollah and the Iraqi resistance groups aka Takfiri terrorists. This is a second attack under the leadership of US president Joe Biden even before any kind of reconciliation could be reached with Iran over the nuclear agreement.

It seems that the American strike is going to see Iranian interference eventually. The Iraqi resistant groups have been identified as ones having links with Hezbollah and another similar group. Intel confirms that both Kataeb Hezbollah and Kataeb Sayyid al-Shuhada, two Iraqi armed factions with close ties to Tehran, were among the “several Iran-backed militia groups” that had used the facilities.

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Kirby further added while speaking to the media that the targets on both sides of the Syria-Iraqi border were being used by “Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against US personnel and facilities in Iraq.

The Hashed, a paramilitary alliance that includes several Iranian proxies and has become the main power broker in Baghdad, admitted to losses in the strikes and vowed revenge.

Political analysts believe that this is America’s way of not letting Iran silently take over the sovereignty of both these war-torn nations. Iran has been using Iraq as its weapon storage facility and has been gradually moving into Syria by trying to control its government functioning. Iraq is desperately trying to take flight of prosperity as it moves closer to neighours like Jordon and Egypt, giving the US a message that it has no intentions of letting Tehran call the shots anymore. However, getting the Iranian equation out of the way would be a difficult task for the US and the rest of the world. The only way as of now, to keep a control is to not go light on the nuclear agreement.

India is engaging with Taliban to further Afghan peace talks
Asia Pacific Focus

India is engaging with Taliban to further Afghan peace talks

As the United States is withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, India is engaging with Afghan officials and Taliban members to establish a complete ceasefire in the landlocked country. As per media reports, an Indian delegation recently met Taliban’s political leadership in Doha to discuss the Afghan peace process.

At a webinar organised at the Arab center in Washington on Monday, a senior Qatari diplomat stated that the Indian officials paid a “quiet visit” to Doha to discuss issues related to mutual concern with Taliban officials.

“I understand that there has been a quiet visit by Indian officials…to speak with the Talibans… because Taliban is a key component of, or should be or is going to be a key component of the future of Afghanistan,” said Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani, special envoy to Qatar for counter-terrorism and conflict resolution.

However, the Indian government has yet not responded to al-Qahtani’s statement.

Last week, Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar visited the Qatari capital Doha for the second time in one week. During his visit, he held talks with his Qatari counterpart Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani as well as US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad to discuss matters related to the Afghan peace process among other diplomatic concerns.

Jaishankar’s stopover comes amid reports that India has for the first time opened channels of communication with Afghan Taliban leaders, including Mullah Baradar.

Earlier this month, India opened channels for communication for Afghan Taliban leaders, including the group’s deputy leader and negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. This move was seen as a major diplomatic shift from India’s previous position to not engage with Taliban over the Afghan peace process. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has also confirmed that New Delhi is in touch with various stakeholders in Kabul as part of its long-term commitment to ensure development and reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Indian National Security Advisory (NSA) Ajit Doval and his Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib also reportedly met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Corporation Organisation (SCO) in Tajikistan capital Dushanbe.

On several occasions, India has reiterated its call for peace within and around Afghanistan to preserve constitutional framework in the country. New Delhi has also called on the international community to press for a permanent ceasefire in Afghanistan amid increasing incidents of violence. In recent years, India has emerged as the largest regional contributor to reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan with enormous financial pledges of $3 billion.

Violent clashes between the Taliban and Afghan government: Dozens Dead
Asia Pacific Focus

Violent clashes between the Taliban and Afghan government: Dozens Dead

Afghan authorities said on Wednesday that clashes took place between Afghan forces and Taliban militants which led to dozens of deaths across the country during the past 24 hours, despite the United States’ attempt to mediate between the two parties.

Abdul Qadir Mufti, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, said on Twitter that eight security personnels were killed in an attack by the Taliban on a checkpoint at the Anak copper mine in eastern Afghan province of Logar on Tuesday evening.

Zabihullah Amani, spokesman for the governor of Saribul province, said that the armed group also launched several attacks at checkpoints in the northern region, killing 11 security forces, wounding 19 and capturing one.

The attacks threaten to derail the fragile peace process, as the Taliban reject repeated government calls for a truce at a time when the country is trying to control the increasing spread of the Coronavirus and implement a prisoner exchange agreement and is looking for formal peace talks to reach a final agreement to stop the war whose only victim is the afghani people and try to get the county back on track instead of dividing people and make them live in a more disastrous state than the one they presently live in.

The Taliban have resumed attacks on Afghan forces after a week-long reduction in violence after signing of an agreement with the United States in February to withdraw troops.

The United States and other international powers have called on the Taliban to reduce attacks and stop violating the signed agreement and the commander of the US forces met this month with the Taliban leadership in Qatar on this issue in an attempt to convince the Taliban to stop the violations and make the same efforts the Afghan government does to at least take the time to face the corona virus spread.

The White House said that US President Donald Trump and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, agreed in a phone call on Wednesday on the importance of the Taliban reducing violence in Afghanistan.

He added in a statement that the two leaders also agreed on the need to continue the discussion on the release of prisoners in Afghanistan.

The Afghan Ministry of Interior said on Twitter that a purge in Logar province had killed 20 Taliban militants.

A statement of the police in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan said that the clashes in three regions in the region resulted in killing four members of the Afghan security forces and 31 Taliban fighters.

In a statement, the Interior Ministry said that a bomb exploded on a road in the central Ghazni region late Tuesday night, killing four civilians. The ministry accused the Taliban of planting the bomb.

The movement made no announcement of responsibility for Tuesday’s attacks.

Washington-Tehran: Tensions Flare !
Americas, Asia Pacific Focus

Washington-Tehran: Tensions Flare !

Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Hussein Salami threatened on Thursday, of the destruction of American warships if Iranian security is threatened in the Gulf.

Salami’s threats came a day after US President Donald Trump warned Tehran against the “harassment” of American ships and that he had ordered the navy to shoot any Iranian ships harassing them at sea, but he later said he did not change the rules of military engagements.

“Our naval forces have ordered the destruction of any American terrorist force in the Persian Gulf that threatens the security of Iranian military or non-military ships,” Salami told state television, adding, “The security of the Persian Gulf is part of Iran’s strategic priorities.”

Earlier this month, the US military said that 11 Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats were dangerously close to US Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Gulf, describing the incident as “dangerous and provocative.”

On Thursday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss ambassador to Tehran, who takes care of US interests in the country, because of the recent tensions between Tehran and Washington.

“I tell the Americans that we are totally and very seriously determined to defend our national security, maritime borders, and the safety of our ships and security forces and we will respond decisively to any sabotage action,” he said. “The Americans have tested our strength in the past and they must learn from that.”

Tensions between Iran and the United States have escalated again since 2018 when Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and six world powers and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Trump should focus on protecting American soldiers from the outbreak of the new Corona virus.

He added in a tweet, “Covid-19 struck the American army with more than five thousand cases and the American forces have no right, seven thousand miles from their country, to provoke our sailors off our coast on the Persian Gulf.” Iran calls the Arab Gulf the Persian Gulf.

Religious rulers in Iran consider the US military presence in the Middle East a threat to the security of the Islamic Republic.

In a move that fueled tensions over Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, the Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday that it had successfully launched the country’s first military satellite into orbit. The announcement sparked protests from Washington.

The US military said long-range ballistic missile technologies used to put satellites into orbit could allow Iran to launch missiles with a longer range and possibly nuclear warheads at some point.

Tehran denies US assurances that such activities are a cover to the development of ballistic missiles and says it has never sought to develop nuclear weapons.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo considered that Iran had violated UN Security Council resolutions by launching a military satellite and promised that this step would have repercussions.

“The Iranians have always affirmed that these satellite programs are completely separate from any military aspect and are purely commercial programs,” he told a news conference.

On Thursday, Iran called on the international community to hold the United States responsible for the sanctions, which Iran described as “brutality” imposed on them, as it is among the countries most affected by the emerging coronavirus and is experiencing difficulties in stopping its spread.

Tehran accuses Washington of exacerbating the country’s health crisis as a result of re-imposing sanctions in 2018. following its unilateral withdrawal from the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

On Thursday, the Iranian Ministry of Health announced that it recorded 90 additional deaths with Covid-19, raising the total to 5481 deaths.

“Today, the Corona virus has spread not only in Iran, but in almost all countries and facing it requires collective action,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said in a statement.

“In addition to fighting the virus, Iran is facing illegal and inhuman American sanctions, which have increased pressure on the Iranian people,” in the midst of a new escalation of tensions between the two countries as a result of a serious incident in the Gulf waters last week.

“The Iranian people have the right to access their financial resources to fight the disease and face its economic consequences,” Araghchi added.

He concluded that “the brutal and unilateral sanctions of the United States represent a clear violation of Security Council Resolution 2231, and therefore the international community must hold the responsibility of the United States.”

In theory, sanctions are not supposed to include health materials (especially medicines and medical equipment), but in practice international banks prefer to reject transfers that include Iran, whatever the goods, for fear of being subjected to US punitive measures.

Brussels-London Relationship Talks on Thin Ice
Europe

Brussels-London Relationship Talks on Thin Ice

London-EU relationship talks after Brexit are facing a difficult struggle while the Coronavirus continues to spread in Britain and Europe, killing nearly 110,000 people.

The European Union and the United Kingdom agreed on Monday to call for progress in their ongoing negotiations to determine their future relationship after Brexit, following a long hiatus due to the Covid-19 epidemic that threatens the possibility of an agreement by the end of December.

The negotiation teams met, headed by the French, Michel Barnier on the European side and his counterpart David Frost on the British side, via video conference Monday evening.

After a first round of talks in early March, negotiations were suspended for six weeks. The emerging Corona virus weighed on the course of the talks. It first hit Michel Barnier, then David Frost, before it hit British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is currently recovering after being taken to hospital where he was placed in intensive care for days.

“We expect new, constructive talks, aimed at making progress by June,” said a spokesman for the British government.

“We must make progress in all areas. Our goal is to achieve tangible progress by June,” Barnier declared, in a tweet.

Despite the confusion caused by the epidemic, Britain, which emerged from the European Union on January 31, rejected on Monday any extension of the transitional period until after the end of December, increasing the risk of not reaching an agreement regulating the future relationship between the two parties.

The International Monetary Fund Director, Kristalina Georgieva, called for the extension of the deadline, stressing that the “increased uncertainty” caused by the health crisis should be avoided.

Fabian Zoeleg of the European Policy Center confirms that “technical” restrictions on CCTV negotiations and “potential economic repercussions” of failure to reach an agreement “strongly favor the extension”, especially as failure appears to lead to the most Brexit scenario. That is, exit without agreement. “

The shock of the epidemic adds to a fundamentally difficult process in which the two parties were unable to settle their differences on future relations at the conclusion of the first round of talks.

The first issue in dispute is that the British want several agreements (trade relations, fishing) while the European Union wants an agreement in order to advance all issues simultaneously.

For Brussels, there will be no partnership if the issue of fishing is not settled in a “balanced” manner, a subject that threatens to escalate the dispute, as it is considered essential for several member states, especially France and Denmark.

However, the Europeans did not receive the British text on fishing on Monday morning, according to the European source.

The second issue in dispute is the terms of competition that the European Union wants “transparent and fair” to prevent the emergence of an informal economy at its gates. And such conditions require respecting common standards in the fields of economy, labor, environment and taxes in particular, which London rejects, adhering to “control of its own laws.”

“We do not yet know which direction the Europeans and the British will take,” said Eric Morris of the Schuman Foundation. “All data has changed and we do not yet know how it will stabilize by the end of June.”

The two teams will continue their talks this week, with Michel Barnier showing what was reached at a press conference Friday at the conclusion of this second round. The next rounds of negotiations will take place in May and then in early June.

Iran choses armaments over efforts to curb corona pandemic
Middle East & Africa

Iran choses armaments over efforts to curb corona pandemic

Despite the outbreak of the Corona epidemic among the Iranian people as a result of the authorities’ leniency in encircling it since the beginning of its spread, the Iranian authorities are still spending money in armaments instead of making plans to confront the pandemic.

Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami told official television Saturday that the Iranian armed forces had acquired three aircraft carrying a 1,500-km bombing range.

During the handover ceremony of the planes, televised from Tehran, the minister stated that these drones can monitor “enemy movements from a distance”.

He added that the planes are equipped with bombs and missiles and can fly at a height of 13716 meters. He did not mention the name of the new aircrafts, saying, “The planes are manufactured by the Iranian military industries sector with the participation of local universities.”

Drones are an important element in monitoring the Iranian border, especially in the Gulf waters and around the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 20 percent of the world’s oil supplies pass.

Iran recently returned to its policy of provoking American warships in the Gulf waters, as warships belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards carried out “dangerous provocative” exercises near American warships that were patrolling international waters in the Gulf this week.

Although the Iranian Ministry of Defense denied the Revolutionary Guards ‘involvement in the provocation, the records and photos revealed the boats’ approaching a few meters to the battleships.

These provocations come at a time when Iran has turned into a hotspot for the Coruna outbreak, with thousands of deaths and contaminated cases recorded.

Iran announced on Saturday, 73 new deaths from the emerging coronavirus, bringing the total to 5031 cases, at a time when the government allowed small institutions in Tehran to open their doors.

Health Ministry spokesman Kyanosh Jahanpur stated that 1,374 new infections were recorded in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections in Iran to 80,860.

Iran used to invoke US sanctions to justify its failure to combat the virus, but the people became surprised by the regime’s ability to waste money in armaments and not to save the lives of those affected by the epidemic.

Last year, Iran had caused a state of tension that had developed into a war after it hijacked a number of oil tankers after the United States tightened sanctions on it after it had renounced the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Despite the dilemma that Iran faces due to its inability to curb the new Corona epidemic, it is still carrying out illegal activities by supporting its allies in the Middle East region with money and weapons.

Iran also insists on continuing to develop its nuclear program, striking the wall with all international warnings and taking advantage of the global preoccupation with the outbreak of Covid-19.

Tehran is inciting its allies, especially in Iraq, to carry out missile attacks against American bases, prompting the American army to activate the Patriot missile system.

US President Donald Trump has warned Iran of the consequences of Iranian provocations, stressing his refusal to lift the sanctions against Tehran, which have been called by a number of countries, especially China and Russia, because of the outbreak of the Corona virus.

Biden accuses Trump of failing to hold China accountable
Americas

Biden accuses Trump of failing to hold China accountable

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, on Friday, accused President Donald Trump of failing to hold China accountable for the “Covid-19” epidemic.

“The bitter truth is that Trump has left America exposed and vulnerable to the epidemic,” Joe Biden said in a video posted on the Internet, adding that the US president ignored the warnings of health experts and intelligence agencies, and “instead put his faith on China’s leaders”, who, according to several officials around the world, have lied about the pandemic and held crucial informations which could’ve helped other countries deal better with the virus’ spread.

Biden added that Donald Trump ended funding for a program created during the Obama administration to monitor urgent infectious diseases and cut the number of experts from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in China by two thirds.

He said that Trump “left a place vacant, that was reserved for an American, within the China Disease Control Agency. Now we are all paying the price,” according to Reuters.

The Trump campaign has moved quickly to use Biden’s record for nearly 50 years as a senator, vice-president, and presidential candidate as material for attacks on China, an issue that has emerged as a major battlefield for election campaigns ahead of the November elections.

On Thursday, a pro-Trump political action committee calling itself “America First” set aside $ 10 million in a new campaign to attack Biden in the frontline states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The ads filmed Biden as a friend of the ruling Communist Party of China, while highlighting Trump’s decision in January to ban travel from China after the new Corona virus outbreak began there.

While Biden’s allies welcomed this election battle, they said that Trump undermined the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and allowed the rapid spread of the new Corona virus, which first appeared in Wuhan, China, but now has killed more than 35,000 Americans.

On Friday, “American Bridge 21” unveiled a “first wave” of anti-Trump advertising campaigns in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, costing $ 15 million.

The ads criticized Trump for providing American medical supplies to help China and for praising Chinese President Xi Jinping for his transparency in the way the virus was treated despite widespread skepticism about the accuracy of the death toll reported by China, which now stands at about 4,600 cases.

“Trump trusted China and sent Beijing our supplies, and now he’s looking at the chaos we are in,” the campaign advertised.

US, UK and France accuse Beijing of hiding the truth about the origin of COVID-19
Americas, Europe

US, UK and France accuse Beijing of hiding the truth about the origin of COVID-19

US Presidents Donald Trump and French Emmanuel Macron accused China of hiding the true number of corona virus deaths, saying that the outcome is much higher than announced, after a new toll containing a higher number of deaths was reported in Wuhan, where the epidemic appeared.

These accusations are the latest in the context of a words’ war sparked by the emergence of the Corona virus and its rapid spread in most countries of the world.

“China has just announced doubling the number of deaths from the invisible enemy covid-19. It is much higher than what have been announced and much higher than the United States, not nearly close!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

It seems that the US President was referring to the sudden increase of 50 percent in the death toll in Wuhan.

The US administration has accused China for weeks of “hiding” the seriousness of the virus. It announced on Thursday, the opening of an” investigation” into the origins of the Covid-19 epidemic, citing the hypothesis that it was sourced from a laboratory in Wuhan that studies viruses and has “leaked” from it.

French President Emmanuel Macron pointed the finger of accusation Thursday at Beijing, as did American officials. “There are obviously things that have happened and we don’t know,” Macron told the British Financial Times, questioning the death toll announced by China.

In London, Secretary of State Dominic Rapp also announced that Beijing should answer “difficult questions about the emergence of the virus and why it could not be stopped early.”

In the face of these accusations, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Legian stressed on Friday that “there has been no concealment of information and we will not allow any concealment,” even if he acknowledged that there was “delay” and “omission” in the death registration.

The Wuhan municipality justified its failure to count the new deaths in the basic outcome by the fact that the patients died in their homes, not in hospitals.

The new toll was released after the world’s growing doubts about the transparency of Chinese numbers. Wuhan officials said a mistake had been made in calculating the number of deaths to which they added 1,290 deaths to the toll of the city where most of the officially recognized deaths in China were registered as a result of the emerging Corona virus.

Since it appeared at the end of 2019 in central China’s Wuhan, the virus has spread to more than two million people worldwide. With the spread of domestic confinement imposed on more than 4.4 billion people, while partial or full unemployment affected tens of millions of people, including 22 million in the United States alone.

Germany announced on Friday, that the epidemic is “under control”, noting that stores will soon resume work, with schools opening their doors again from May 4th.

It is generally believed that the new Corona virus appeared in a market in Wuhan in which live wild animals were sold for the purpose of consumption, and that the virus had moved in this market from animals to humans and had mutated.

However, American media presented another theory. The Washington Post reported that the US embassy in Beijing informed Washington two years ago about insufficient security measures in a local laboratory that studies corona viruses in bats, while Fox News reported that the emerging virus came from this laboratory. In particular, even if it is a natural virus, not a compound, it may be an accidental “leak” as a result of improper preventive measures.

The global epidemic has reached 145,673 deaths out of 218,740 cases, which have been officially counted in 193 countries. The United States is the country that is most affected by the epidemic, with 33,000 deaths out of 671425 cases, followed by Italy (22170 deaths out of 168941 cases), then Spain (19,478 deaths out of 188068 cases), France (18,681 deaths out of 165027 cases), and the United Kingdom (14576 Death out of 108,692 cases).

There is still controversy over the death toll in Spain, where some regions say the figures are below the actual number. The confusion increased as the authorities changed the method of counting deaths, which led to a change in the numbers announced in the past days.

In Italy, about 17,000 health workers were infected with the emerging coronavirus, which represents 10 percent of the total number of infections in this country, according to the Higher Institute of Health.

In neighboring Belgium, the epidemic has caused the death of more than five thousand people, most of them in nursing homes, according to the latest official toll.

The World Bank announced on Friday that the economic crisis caused by the global epidemic may erase the progress made in the development of poor countries in recent years, warning of “an unprecedented crisis, health, economic and social repercussions will be devastating throughout the world.”

Beijing rejects Washingtons accusation of secret nuclear tests
Americas, Asia Pacific Focus

Beijing rejects Washingtons accusation of secret nuclear tests

A US State Department report indicated that Beijing may have conducted a number of underground nuclear explosions, However, China denied the US State Department report’s accusations on Thursday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Li Jian told reporters during a daily press briefing that Beijing is fulfilling its obligations in non-proliferation treaties, adding that the US accusations are invalid and doesn’t have any proof of what they accuse China with.

“The American criticism of China is totally unfounded and does not deserve refutation.” Said the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Li Jian.

In the summary of its annual report to assess global agreements to reduce nuclear armament, the US State Department said yesterday that China is “continuing a high level of activity” at its test site in Lop Nur, in the western Xinjiang region.

The report said that China may have conducted a series of secret nuclear explosions despite its emphasis on adhering to an international treaty banning such explosions.

This news, which was published by the Wall Street Journal, could lead to a further deterioration of relations already strained due to US accusations that the global Covid-19 pandemic resulted from Beijing’s mishandling of the outbreak in Wuhan at the end of last year, adding to that, naming the Covid-19 the (Chinese virus), as the US president Donald Trump and a number of US officials called it, which deteriorated highly the US and Chinese relations.

US fears that Beijing might violate the “zero power” standard in nuclear explosions were sparked by activities at the Lube Noor nuclear test site in 2019. The State Department said.

The term “zero power” refers to a nuclear test procedure that does not include any chain reaction with an explosion, such as the type used to detonate a nuclear warhead.

The 1996 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty allows the sort of activities that ensure the safety of nuclear weapons.

Nine countries in the world currently possess nuclear weapons – the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea, the number of countries possessing the nuclear power are getting higher, and this threatens the worlds’ safety, the agreements restricting nuclear power are certainly done to avoid any nuclear war that might have unimaginable consequences on human kind, but on the other hand the number of countries possessing that power is also highly dangerous and problematic for countries without this kind of weapons.

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