Grace Young

Australia Japan to reinforce defense ties amid the rising Chinese economy
Asia Pacific Focus

Australia Japan to reinforce defense ties amid the rising Chinese economy

Australia Japan to reinforce defense ties: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison visits Japan to hold a meeting with his Japanese ally, Yoshihide Suga, to reinforce defense ties between the two US partners to counter China’s growing economy and its developing confidence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The two nations are near to conclude a Reciprocal Access Agreement, a lawful system to permit their soldiers to visit each other’s nations and conduct joint training and exercises. Morrison and Suga going to conclude the agreement on Tuesday. 

They are additionally expected to talk about the worsening Covid situation and the declining economy, Japanese authorities announced. 

Whenever marked, it will be Japan’s first such deal since the 1960 status of forces deal with the United States, which set bases for around 50,000 American soldiers to work in and around Japan under the Japan-US security agreement. 

Japan is dedicated towards maintaining and deepening its 60-year-old partnership with the US. As the foundation of Japanese discretion and security, however, has as of late tried to supplement its regional defense by venturing up cooperation with others, particularly Australia, in China’s developing sea activity that has spread from the East and South China oceans. 

Bach and Morrison are in Tokyo this week and utilized the opportunity to discuss adjacent to IOC member and Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates about the Olympics.

Japan clings to self-defense and boycotts first strikes under its postwar pacifist ideology, however, has supported its defense capacity and spending under the former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. 

Abe pushed Japan’s military weapons and cooperation agreement with the US as it progressively works alongside US troops and reinforced buying of expensive stealth fighters and various weapons from the USA. 

Suga, who took charge of Japan in mid-September following Abe’s resignation because of medical reasons, is continuing on his predecessor’s strategic and security policies.

Japan regards Australia as a semi-partner and the two nations for the first time consented to a defense agreement in 2007.

The two nations conceded to the sharing of military supplies in 2013, extending it in 2017 to include weapons after Japan eased limitations on arms supply transfers.

Japan has started the Free and Open Indo-Pacific” vision of financial and security collaboration as a counter to China’s impact, and as of late facilitated foreign ministerial discussions among the nations known as the Quad that additionally incorporates Australia, the US, and India. 

They presently to bring in more nations in Southeast Asia and beyond that share matters related to China’s expanding assertiveness in the region. 

China denies violating any international laws in its actions in the regional sea and has condemned the Quad as a NATO in Asia against China. 

Japan and Australia both have reported economic challenges with Beijing and various sanctions being placed on many products.

France urges Lebanon to form a new government without further delay
Middle East & Africa

France urges Lebanon to form a new government without further delay

France urges Lebanon to form a new government: The deadline for framing a new government in Lebanon was missed due to the pandemic and the Beirut Port blast. France has urged Lebanon to “accelerate the development of a new and effective government, acknowledged by every political group. A new government is needed to reform and give appropriate leadership amid strains, covid-19, and major economic crises. 

Patrick Durel, The adviser to president Macron for the issues of the Middle East and North Africa, held a series of conferences on Thursday and Friday, with authorities and the tops of the eight parliamentary coalitions, including the delegate of Hezbollah to form a new government asap.

In September, President Michel Aoun also said that the crisis-hit nation could be going to “hellfire” if a good and new administration was not framed soon, recommending it would require a miracle for that to occur now. 

The warning comes as the nation battles to contain an escalating economic and financial crisis that worsens the nation’s economic situation, just as worries of a surge in Covid cases and deaths impact Lebanon. 

The political standstill has subverted a French initiative drove by President Emmanuel Macron for a Lebanese administration of autonomous authorities to enact urgently to bring reform intended to deliver the nation from its ongoing crises. 

On Nov 16, Lebanon’s caretaker FM Ghazi Wazni stated that if the nation’s elite class kept on postponing the forming of the new government and we don’t get financial aid soon, it would be the end of Lebanon, he added.

Wazni backed Macron’s initiative, who promised global financial help to Lebanon in return for anti-corruption reform in the nation. Lawmakers presently haven’t able to propose any of them. 

“President Macron stated ‘we’ll provide you some oxygen, we’ll help you to come of this mess’, or else, this monetary and social situation will continue to intensify. The effect will be on the security, strength, and fate of the nation,” Wazni added. 

The negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for financial aid were postponed thus, even though contact proceeds, Wazni added. 

However, for a long time, the PM assigned and Saad Hariri have been trying to negotiate with the political parties about how to divide ministries, but due to the pandemic and the port blast has hit the nation badly.

Critics state that despite public proclamations of help for Macron’s drive and reform, Lebanon’s government officials have returned to obtain as much influence as plausible.

What will the future of India-US relations be during Biden’s Presidency?
Asia Pacific Focus

What will the future of India-US relations be during Biden’s Presidency?

The India US relations during Biden’s Presidency: Joe Biden’s fabulous win will surely reshape the country’s relationship with other nations around the globe. Joe Biden has vowed that he will re-establish the United States relations with the other nations and unite various world democracies. He stated that he will face the challenge of countries that are weakening.

His statements are a sheer contrast to President Trump, who in his administrative term taken a rigid path towards foreign policy and impaired various decades-old alliances. 

India is placing its hope in Joe Biden’s presidency to make India-US the closest countries around the globe.

PM Narendra Modi, in the Howdy Modi function during Sept 2019 had stated ‘Abki Baar, Trump Sarkar’, on Saturday tweeted to compliment Biden for his stupendous victory and added that he is anticipated working closely with the new US government to bring the bilateral ties to more prominent heights. 

Furthermore, to Harris, Modi expressed: “Your victory is pathbreaking, and a matter of enormous pride not only for your chittis [a Tamil family term that Harris utilized in her VP nominee speech], yet additionally for every Indian-American. I am sure that the energetic India-U.S. ties will get considerably stronger with your leadership and support.”

Analysts, meanwhile stated that India will find a long-lasting friend in Biden, who will keep in mind the India-US relationship and its long-term strategic interests.

After, Joe Biden’s triumph in the US Presidential Elections 2020, the market also surged. Biden’s success, as indicated by researchers, will decrease strategy vulnerability and pave the way towards the much-anticipated financial stimulus. 

In this situation, as per economic analysts, institutional assets are probably going to discover their way into Asian equities. Another factor that would give EM equity advantage over developed markets is the following round of stimulus by Washington. Experts state it has been observed in the past that a more fiscal stimulus will favor the EM equities.

India’s diplomatic sources told ThePrint, India, which has now taken a firm stand on aligning more closely to the US while confronting China, even as it presses for a standard-based order under the Indo-Pacific development with other nations. Surely India hopes for better and profound relations with the new Biden presidency. 

Before the US elections, New Delhi and the US held their third round of 2+2 Ministerial Dialog in which the two sides marked an important defense deal while conveying strong signals to Pakistan and China. 

India and the US have additionally promised to make their security and defense relations stronger. A great defense deal was signed on Oct 28 between India and the US. The marking of the most anticipated Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) allows the two countries to share key strategic data with each other.

Under the Trump regime, trade became a significant standing point in the India-US ties. While the US came down intensely on nations with which it had an import/export deficit. However, the Biden regime is likewise expected to review the huge trade deal under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Trump had withdrawn in 2017.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, German Chancellor Call for Global Efforts to Fight Terrorism

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince, German Chancellor Call for Global Efforts to Fight Terrorism

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, deputy supreme commander of the United Arab Emirates’ armed forces, received a phone call from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, focusing on the significance of boosting bilateral relations as a component of the current overall strategic partnership between the United Arab Emirates and Germany. She also emphasized and discussed tackling the growing threat of terrorism.

On Nov 1, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed condemned the recent terror attacks in France, during a conversation on phone with the President Emanuel Macron. According to WAM, His Highness stressed upon his dismissal of hate speech, any justification or reasoning for the violence, terrorism, and killing.

Merkel and Shiekh Zayed talked about different provincial and global issues along with calling on global efforts in fighting terrorism. 

They strongly rejected fanaticism and terrorism in their forms and the significance of urging global endeavors to face them. Merkel and Sheikh Zayed had stressed upon joint attempts to support and promote dialogue among religions, various cultures, and societies at the local and global platform. 

However, they also discussed the progress in the Middle East and the Mediterranean area, as both nations aimed their support for settling discords through talks and peaceful methods. 

His Highness Sheikh Zayed and Chancellor Merkel also talked about the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the two nations and the world. Both nations focused on fortifying international action to address the urgent need to contain the virus and tackling it in the coming future.

Sheikh Zayed urged for peaceful and respectful discourse between people of various cultures and religions, citing the United Arab Emirates as a great example of an Arab Muslim nation with excellent values of co-existence, cooperation, and tolerance among its diverse community.

Iranian President Rouhani says ‘whoever the United States elects as its next president doesn’t concern Tehran’
Middle East & Africa

Iranian President Rouhani says ‘whoever the United States elects as its next president doesn’t concern Tehran’

On Wednesday, as the results of the United States presidential elections are awaited, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated that whom the US chooses as its next president doesn’t concern Tehran, Reuter’s reports. 

“For Tehran, the following United States administrative policies are significant and not who wins the US political race,” Rouhani stated in a cabinet meeting. 

As per analysts, Rouhani was referring to the 2015 Iran atomic accord that President Trump pulled out from in May 2018. Since the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal and forced many economic sanctions on Iran. However, Iran has consistently disregarded its atomic commitments and enriched uranium exceeding what’s allowed under the accord, the UN nuclear watchdog reported.

Pressures between the US and Iran have been sharp for quite a long time, however, it hit its boiling point, when Washington killed Iranian army commander Qasem Soleimani, and Tehran reacted with missile strikes on Iraqi bases lodging US troops.

Trump explained that he ordered an airstrike in Iraq to execute Iran’s top general, Qasem Soleimani – a move that past US presidents had considered provocative, which further added to the already strained relationship between the two nations. 

The point of contention included authority over Iran’s oil holds, United States political interference in Tehran, Iran’s longing for atomic power, and the two nations’ developing impact in the Middle East. 

In 2016, President Trump signs an order prohibiting nationals from seven Muslim countries, including Iran, from entering America for 90 days. Iran calls the ban “an undeniable disrespect to the Islamic world” and reacts by directing a ballistic missile test. The growing strains between the two nations raised worries about the fate of the Iran atomic agreement.

In 2018, Trump withdrew from the Iran atomic deal, which he saw as unfair. He also announced that he will impose sanctions on Iran. 

Pressures further escalated in June 2019, after assaults on oil Persian Gulf and oil offices in Saudi Arabia, as well as the bringing down of a US drone.

The US authorities have consistently stressed that threats to the freedom of the route in the Gulf and the oil trade are inadmissible, yet the Trump government makes no move. 

The United States has recently hit hard and imposed fresh sanctions on 18 Banks in Iran, by additional hindering it from the global financial banking systems and forestalling the country’s endeavors to produce atomic weapons. 

The new sanctions will check Iran’s financial resources that could be used to support its nuclear program, uranium enrichment, radical terrorism, and hostile regional impact. 

The move was reprimanded by European allies who advised that sanctioning banks could crush the humanitarian situation in Iran as it requires meds and food amid the economic and coronavirus crisis. 

On Wednesday, Rouhani stated in a broadcast cabinet meeting that for Tehran, the following US administrative policies are significant and not who wins the US political race,” The National reported.

President Donald Trump’s continued sanctions that have injured Iran’s economy. In retaliation, Iran has step by step decreased compliance with agreement terms. 

Though, the Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has vowed to rejoin Iran’s 2015 atomic deal with six forces if Iran restores agreement with it. 

Regardless of who wins the US political race … For Iran, principles and policies are important,” Rouhani stated. 

Recently, Trump has stated that he wants to work out a new deal with Tehran that would discuss Iran’s missile program and backing for provincial mediators in Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria.

On Nov 4, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif rejected the idea of a new deal on the standing of the 2015 atomic agreement during the term of the next US president. 

In Sept 2019, Rouhani had expressed that Iran won’t hold bilateral discussions with the United States until it removes all its imposed sanctions from Iran. Also, it can begin a multilateral dialogue among Iran and other parties to a 2015 atomic deal, Reuters detailed. 

On Tuesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also expressed that the 2020 US presidential race’s outcome won’t affect Tehran’s policy towards America.

Joint Statement by Cyprus, Greece, and Egypt angers the Turkish Foreign Ministry
Middle East & Africa

Joint Statement by Cyprus, Greece, and Egypt angers the Turkish Foreign Ministry

Turkey already having disagreements and conflicts with Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt, however adding on to the already sour relationship, a joint statement by Cyprus, Greece, and Egypt was announced on Thursday, denouncing Turkish activities in northern Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean. However, Turkey’s foreign ministry has dismissed the joint statement.

On Thursday, the ministry stated that it “harshly denounces the declaration bearing outlandish allegations and claims.” 

The Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, and the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis urged Ankara to stop its infuriating activities in the eastern Mediterranean during a trilateral regional summit in Nicosia on Wednesday. 

The joint statement also pressed Turkey to acknowledge Cyprus’ invitation to negotiate for an agreement about the maritime border. Greece and Cyprus have consented to a maritime border with Egypt while rejecting a similar agreement that Ankara marked with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.

The joint declaration attacked Ankara as opposed to supporting harmony and strength in the region, Turkey’s foreign ministry stated. 

It rehashed that Turkey’s position and cooperation could only occur with the inclusion of Turkish Cypriots in the war-partitioned island.

According to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Deputy Prime Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The political answer for being found to the Cyprus issue is the key factor to ensure the rights and interests of the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey on the Island and to add these rights on a strong foundation. Continuation of the solid and autonomous presence of the Turkish Cypiots is an absolute necessity to arrive at a final decision, and the relations between the TRNC and Turkey are composed likewise. 

“We will proceed with confidence to save and protect our privileges and the rights of Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean.” 

Relations between the two nations have further exacerbated this year. In February, Turkey had allowed an enormous number of migrants to cross the fringe into Greece and the European Union, enraging the latter. 

For quite a while, Greece and Turkey have contrasted over rights on the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, which is enriched in gas and oil deposits. 

Turkey and Greece have twice disagreed throughout the last weeks – first when Turkey changed the prominent 1,500-year-old Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque, and later over the opportunity to explore hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean sea. 

The summit occurred amid high strains between NATO allies Turkey and Greece over oceanic fringes and energy rights, The Associated Press detailed.

Greece and Cyprus have consented to the maritime border treaty with Egypt, while Turkey has marked a similar agreement with Libya’s Tripoli-based government.

Pompeo threatens sanctions following U.N. arms ban against Iran expires
Middle East & Africa

Pompeo threatens sanctions following U.N. arms ban against Iran expires

Iranian authorities have welcomed the lifting of a 13-year old UN arms ban on their military and called it a ‘groundbreaking day’, asserting they were happy to be free to purchase and sell weapons in order to establish their nation’s security. 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed gratitude towards his country for the showing resistance and diplomatic efforts despite constant US pressure since the past four years, and this uncalled-for ban is lifted.” according to analysts, decade-long sanctions have badly impacted Iran’s economy.

On Sunday, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cautioned nations that if any individual or nation will help Iran’s weapons program then we will slap sanctions on them. This stand would probably add more to the pressures between Washington and Tehran. 

Pompeo said in a statement, “For a decade, nations have shunned from selling weapons to Iran under various UN standards. Any nation that currently challenges this prohibition will be choosing to fuel strife and pressure over-improving harmony and security.” 

Under the U.N. arms ban, the trade of certain conventional arms to Iran was a violation under the U.N. Security Council.

The United Nations had restricted Iran from purchasing major foreign weapon systems in 2010 amid pressures over its atomic program. A previous ban focused on Iranian arms exports. 

The U.N. Security Council declined in August to support the U.S. effort to expand the arms ban on Iran. In response to the announcement of the recent lifting of the arms ban, last month Washington had unilaterally re-imposed U.N. sanctions on Tehran.

According to critics, the ban lift would be a huge risk to many nations as Russia and China are the two nations that are likely to help Tehran. 

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency projected in 2019 that if the arms ban ended, Iran probably would attempt to buy Su-30 warrior planes, Yak-130 trainer airplane, T-90 tanks, and also S-400 anti-aircraft missile system from Russia, and China additionally could sell Iran’s arms, DIA added. 

The U.N. arms bans, nonetheless, didn’t prevent Iran from sending weapons assault rifles and ballistic missiles to Yemen’s Houthi rebels. However, Tehran continues to deny providing arms support to the Houthis, weapons experts, and international powers consistently linked Iranian weapons to the rebels, AP detailed. 

The US has straightforwardly dismissed the ban lift and said in a statement that the US is ready to utilize its domestic authorities to sanction any individual or nation that buys, sells, or help supply raw material to or from Iran. Including those who will help provide specialized training, financial aid, and other help related to weaponry. 

The US State Department cautioned all nations and organizations not to exchange arms with Iran or might have to face sanctions from the US Treasury Dept. 

The arrangements set in UN Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA would permit Tehran, starting Oct. 18, to purchase conventional weapons, Ballistic missiles, and related technology, from tanks to heavy artillery, and from fighter planes to cutting edge submarines. However, this could assist Iran to expand its controversial nuclear program while fueling more tensions in the West.

Lebanon: Saad Hariri’s chances of becoming the next PM are high
Middle East & Africa

Lebanon: Saad Hariri’s chances of becoming the next PM are high

Having resigned from the post of Prime Minister of Lebanon, almost a year back due to protests, Saad Hariri is presently in the race to head the nation once again. Lebanese President Michel Aoun has called for a meeting with parliamentary blocs on Oct 15, to name for a new PM and form a new government.

Monday’s meeting between President Aoun and Hariri was excellent. On Thursday, in an interview on MTV Hariri stated that he was a potential candidate for PM, including that he would be ready to strike a deal with IMF and implement policy reforms in the nation.

Beirut has witnessed a series of protests after the massive blast that impacted thousands of lives. Around 300,000 individuals lost shelter and are in dire strait situation amid loss of job. Such a disaster is humongous for an economy that is nearing a economic collapse. Indeed, even before this catastrophe, Lebanon was requesting for a USD 5 billion credit from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to face the progressing financial crisis in the nation. 

In comparison to 2019, the latest protest after the port blast reveals a total loss of confidence of the citizens in Lebanon’s political establishment. Last year’s protests were triggered due to additional taxes, corruption, and unemployment that later depleted the economic and political conditions even further. 

The administration’s failure to address these issues head-on and start policy reforms has expanded the misery of Lebanese people and their annoyance against the current regime. 

The Lebanese government drastically failed to bring any reform or find solutions to resolve issues confronting the nation. As per critics, one cannot deny the corruption and inefficiency of government that lead to the current state of misery.

Hassan Diab took over as the Lebanese PM on January this year, amid demonstrations that were seething three months after his forerunner Hariri resigned in October 2019. The main task of Diab was to address the concerns and demands raised by the dissenters. 

The coronavirus outbreak and the Beirut blast further worsened the economic situation of the nation. The current caretaker government run by Diab also failed to prevent Lebanon’s crumbling infrastructure.

Soon on August 12, Diab resigned due to a developing dissent by angry residents over the Beirut blast, unemployment, homelessness, fragile health care system, falling of currency rates and the corrupt regime politics.Currently, Diab is a caretaker PM until a new government is formed.

The final decision of the former Lebanese PM, Saad Hariri, to run for the post indeed relies upon the parliamentary bloc’s readiness to support him, a senior source in the Future Bloc stated. Asharq Al-Awsat reported. 

Hariri stated that he supports the initiative taken by the French President Emmanuel Macron, who urged political parties to accelerate actions and form a new government and put aside their disparities to spare the nation from financial breakdown. If Hariri is chosen, it would be his third term to serve as the Prime Minister of Lebanon.

China is pushing its territorial claims in the East and the South China Sea amid the pandemic, says Japan
Asia Pacific Focus

China is pushing its territorial claims in the East and the South China Sea amid the pandemic, says Japan

According to Reuters, Japan’s annual defense review blames China for East and the South China Sea territorial claims and spreading disinformation, propoganda, and confusion during the coronavirus episode.

The Diaoyu archipelago (also recognized as the Senkakus in Japanese) is an isolated chain of islands in the East China Sea claimed by Taiwan, Japan, and China.

Due to a long-standing dispute over the islands’ possession the relationships between China and Japan have soured. Lately, the growing presence of Chinese and Japanese vessels close by waters has raised worries about potential conflicts between the two nations.

In the South China Sea, Beijing was stating regional claims by setting up administrative districts around the controversial islands, which compelled nations to react amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Japan’s defense review.

Japan announced in the defense white paper endorsed by the Japanese government on Tuesday that China is continuously trying to change the state of affairs in the East and the South China Sea. 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government also doubts Beijing of disinformation and spreading propaganda while it gives medical aid many nations to battle the spread of the virus. The white paper stated relentless meddling in waters around the archipelago declared by both the countries.

New Zealand’s MP Hamish Walker steps down after confessing he leaked Covid-19 cases details to media
Asia Pacific Focus

New Zealand’s MP Hamish Walker steps down after confessing he leaked Covid-19 cases details to media

Hamish Walker, from the center-right National Party, admitted that he leaked the confidential details of active Covid-19 cases of various nations’ to the media, and steps down from standing in September’s election. He also stated that he was the source of the private data about the 18 cases, which were given to few media houses recently.

On Wednesday, Walker apologized in a written statement that he did this to uncover the administration’s inadequacies, and was told that his actions were not unlawful. He truly regretted his actions and offered no further comment, The Guardian reported

According to The Guardian, Michelle Boag, a former leader of the National Party stated in an announcement uncovering that she had been the individual who was behind the list of details – in her powers as an acting CEO of an Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, she had passed the information to Walker. Boag resigned from her job and expressed she repents her actions and didn’t foresee that Hamish would decide to pass it on to media.” 

The New Zealand Government also announced an independent investigation into the leak earlier this week. Todd Muller, the new leader of the National Party, stated that he had urged Hamish to recognize this blunder to Michael Heron QC. Completely cooperate with the investigation into how the data made it to the media. Muller told the Radio New Zealand that he had also requested the Party to fire Walker for such a serious blunder. 

Bryce Edwards, a political analyst, stated that the National Party was presently defenseless against claims as it had a reputation of unethically leaking stuff to the media. 

The leaking of confidential Covid-19 active cases to the media was indeed an embarrassment and incredibly terrible news for Muller and his Party. Lately, the National Party had been making news about battling the Covid-19, but the sudden scandal news dampened the party’s attempt to contain the pandemic.

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