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International Relations

Where’s the Outrage? Military Helicopters to Taiwan from Europe

February 5th, 2010

TAIPEI, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Eurocopter EC-225Taiwan said on Friday it would buy military helicopters from a European manufacturer, a move that could ignite China’s anger toward Europe following a storm over U.S. arms sales to the island that Beijing claims as its own.

The air force will buy EC-225 search-and-rescue helicopters, defense ministry spokesman Martin Yu said without offering details. Read the rest of this entry »

Somali Pirates Hijack North Korean Cargo Ship

February 4th, 2010

Somali Pirate

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Somali pirates hijacked a North Korean cargo ship on Wednesday with an unknown number of crew on board, the European Union Naval Force said.

The MV Rim was seized in the Gulf of Aden, outside the internationally recommended transit corridor patrolled by the anti-piracy naval coalition, said Cmdr. Anders Kallin of the EU Naval Force. Read the rest of this entry »

Obama Plans to Meet with Dalai Lama: Add it to the List

February 3rd, 2010

It seems that since China apparently ruined the Copenhagen Summit in December and snubbed U.S. President Barack Obama while doing so, America has been on a mission show Beijing that although the U.S. is a mess, they will not be outmaneuvered in foreign policy.

They have done so by striking at some of the country’s most sensitive topics over the last month, namely: censorship, Taiwan, and the Dalai Lama.

It started with Google’s announcement that it would be leaving the Chinese market after suffering a series of sophisticated cyber attacks originating in China in addition to claiming that censoring their search results went against the company motto, “Don’t be evil.”

Google’s announcement came a week after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a private dinner with some of America’s top executives, including Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Coincidence? Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Taiwan Arms Deal the Right Move for Washington

February 1st, 2010

America’s recent weapons deal with Taiwan was the correct decision, not “the wrong decision,” for the Obama administration. Here’s why:

WASHINGTON (New York Times)— For the past year, China has adopted an increasingly muscular position toward the United States, berating American officials for the global economic crisis, stage-managing President Obama’s visit to China in November, refusing to back a tougher climate change agreement in Copenhagen and standing fast against American demands for tough new Security Council sanctions against Iran.

Now, the Obama administration has started to push back. In announcing an arms sales package to Taiwan worth $6 billion on Friday, the United States leveled a direct strike at the heart of the most sensitive diplomatic issue between the two countries since America affirmed the “one China” policy in 1972. Read the rest of this entry »

Romania Urges Moldova to Join EU

January 29th, 2010

Romanian President Traian Basescu advised Moldovans to carry out the requisite reforms needed to join the European Union on Thursday, during a meeting at a state university in Southern Moldova’s Cahul.Moldova - Romania Presidents

“I tell you, Moldova’s place is in the EU. You need to take a decisive road to the EU,” President Basescu said to a large gathering of students. “This means sacrifices, to be accepted by the political class and the population. But these are worth it because the EU means you can aspire to prosperity.”

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Moldova has been lead by a series of communist, pro-Russia administrations who kept the country as a middle path between Moscow and Bucharest. Read the rest of this entry »

Russia Gives Iran Arms Deal the Go Ahead

January 29th, 2010

S-300 AA System

In a controversial move, Russia’s state-run arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, said yesterday that there were no international agreements preventing the sale of arms to Iran.

This news comes as Russia continues to expand their role as one of the world’s largest arms manufacturers and exporters. That’s all nice, but what peeves some other players on the world stage (namely the U.S. and Israel) is their willingness to deal with so-called ‘pariah regimes.’ i.e. countries that the U.S. doesn’t have under their heel.

Russia lists China, India, Syria, Venezuela, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria among their foreign clientele. So, in short, business is booming. Read the rest of this entry »

Kazakhstan, NATO Agree on Afghan Transit Deal

January 28th, 2010

The final piece of the puzzle, Kazakhstan has agreed to an overland transit deal that would grant NATO a more reliable supply route to Afghanistan than is currently being provided through Pakistan.

Ukraine, Russia, and Uzbekistan had already agreed to similar terms, but the northern supply line was impossible without the approval of the largest Central Asian country.

“This allows supplies for our forces to start moving from Europe to Afghanistan, beginning in the coming days, complimenting the very important transit route through Pakistan,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

The agreement is contingent on only non-lethal supplies passing through the area, but nevertheless, is of huge importance to NATO’s Afghanistan campaign as the Pakistan supply route through the Khyber Pass remains under frequent Taliban attacks.

Update: (New York Times) Militants Strike Convoy with NATO Supplies in Karachi

North Korea Resumes Firing near South Korean Border

January 28th, 2010

For the second straight day, North Korea fired artillery shells which fell just north of the Northern Limit Line’s (NLL) maritime border – near the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong.North Korea is Dark

After declaring a no-sail zone in the area earlier this week, the North fired at least 30 rounds yesterday morning as part of an “annual training drill,” which the South responded to with 100 warning shots of their own.

“We have confirmed North Korea’s firing of several artillery shells, but they did not cross (the maritime border)” said Joint Chief of Staff Park Sung-woo yesterday, according to Yonhap. “We are on high military alert.” Read the rest of this entry »

Armenia, Azerbaijan Make Progress on Nagorno-Karabakh Resolution

January 27th, 2010

Nagorno-KarabakhArmenian President Serzh Sarksyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev have reportedly come to an agreement on some basic principles regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute that has been going on for almost 20 years.

While meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at a ski resort near Sochi on Monday, the two leaders reached an understanding on the preamble to a new and improved version of the 2007 Madrid document, which outlined a step-by-step resolution to the conflict. Read the rest of this entry »

Lao PM Praises Bilateral Relations with Vietnam

January 26th, 2010

Lao Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavat praised cooperation between Laos and Vietnam over the years as a Laos inspection committee met with Vietnamese officials in Hanoi yesterday.

For the second straight year, Vietnam has been the largest investor in Laos’ economy with 48 projects worth US$1.42 billion in total capital, followed by China and Thailand.

“There are many bright prospects for bilateral economic ties,” said Prime Minister Somsavat, who is also the chairman of the Laos-Vietnam Cooperation Sup-Committee. “Laos has strong potential for hydro-electricity, land, and minerals while Vietnam has capital, capability, and technology.”