Trump agrees to an indefinite military effort and new diplomatic push in Syria, US officials say

  1. Trump agrees to an indefinite military effort and new diplomatic push in Syria, US officials say  Washington Post
  2. US has seen evidence of Syria preparing chemical weapons in Idlib: envoy  Reuters
  3. Russia and Turkey Will Collide Over End of Syrian Civil War  The National Interest Online (blog)
  4. No one can stop the coming bloodbath in Idlib  The Economist
  5. Full coverage


Source: Google News

Taiwan loses third diplomatic ally this year as El Salvador defects to China

Taiwan loses third diplomatic ally this year as El Salvador defects to ChinaTaiwan lost another ally to Beijing on Tuesday when diplomatic ties with El Salvador were severed, in another political victory for China as it attempts to isolate the self-ruled island on the global stage. The break with the Central American nation leaves Taiwan now with formal relations with just 17 countries worldwide, many of them poor nations in Central America and the Pacific like Belize and Nauru.  Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Tuesday said his government was refusing to compete with China in buying diplomatic support, condemning what he called Beijing’s campaign of luring away Taiwan’s allies with promises of vast financial aid and investment. “It is irresponsible to engage in financial aid diplomacy or compete with China in cash, or even in providing illegal political money. My government is unwilling to and cannot do so,” he said in comments reported by the AP.  In a separate announcement, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, El Salvador’s president, whose party faces presidential elections in February, announced in a televised speech that the country was switching diplomatic allegiance to Beijing.  Presidents Tsai Ing-wen and Salvador Sanchez Ceren are no longer diplomatic allies Credit: Marvin Recinos/AFP El Salvador is the third country to defect to China this year, and the fifth since President Tsai Ing-wen came to office in 2016. It follows Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe and Panama.  China, which claims the island as its own territory, has aggressively tried to lure or pressure Taipei’s diplomatic allies to cut ties since Ms Tsai’s election, suspicious that her government will try to push for formal independence.  Some analysts believe Beijing’s relentless push to isolate Taipei internationally and exclude it from global forums is part of a determined strategy by Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, to bring Taiwan under his control during his tenure.  Taiwan’s population of 23 million meanwhile operates like any other democratic nation with its own elections, government, currency, military and foreign policy and the majority of citizens identify as Taiwanese. The news broke as President Tsai wrapped up a high-profile trip to Latin America, including stops in the United States that took in an unprecedented visit to Nasa’s space centre in Houston, drawing broad criticism from China. “Taiwan would not bow to pressure. Pressure would only make us more determined and united. It would only boost our determination to go abroad,” she said as she arrived at Taiwan’s international airport late on Monday after the nine-day trip.  The Pacific island of Palau is being punished economically by China for its ties to Taiwan Credit: Farah Master/Reuters Informally, Taiwan still enjoys strong relations with the US, UK and other Western nations, despite a lack of formal recognition. However, both China and Taiwan have engaged in chequebook diplomacy in the competition for official allies over the years, with Taipei offering generous aid and economic development packages, and once paying for a Taiwanese chef to cook for the King of Swaziland. But the island’s recovering economy is now struggling to compete with China’s larger wallet and the considerable political pressure it can exert.  Reports have emerged that tourism on the tiny Pacific island of Palau, one of Taiwan’s allies, has been decimated after Beijing branded it an illegal destination last year and banned tour groups from going there.  Prior to the ban, Chinese tourists accounted for about half the visitors to Palau. Of the 122,000 visitors in 2017, 55,000 were from China and 9,000 from Taiwan, official data showed. “There is an ongoing discussion about China weaponising tourism,” Jeffrey Barabe, owner of Palau Central Hotel and Palau Carolines Resort in Koror told Reuters. “Some believe that the dollars were allowed to flow in and now they are pulling it back to try and get Palau to establish ties diplomatically.” 


Source: Yahoo! News

How a US coffee shop sparked a diplomatic standoff between China and Taiwan

How a US coffee shop sparked a diplomatic standoff between China and TaiwanA bakery in California has found itself at the centre of an international storm after it welcomed the president of Taiwan with a cup of coffee and a goody bag. The result was a major diplomatic incident as Chinese customers launched a boycott of the 85C Bakery Cafe, which rapidly disappeared from online ordering platforms on the Chinese mainland.  The episode highlight’s Beijing’s sensitivity over an island that considers itself a sovereign state, but has never declared formal independence.  The Taiwanese-owned chain apologised and distanced itself from the views of Tsai Ing-wen, the pro-independence leader of the island, after she dropped in on Wednesday en route to visiting allies in South America.  Excited staff gave her a gift bag and took selfies, as images were uploaded to Facebook by part of her delegation. A woman looks at her mobile phone at a 85C Bakery Cafe in Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang province Credit: AFP They have since been removed but it was too late to prevent the diplomatic fallout. Beijing – which has been working to isolate countries that recognise Taiwan – warned it would oppose any businesses that support Taiwanese independence. A company official in Taipei, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that it had been removed from several online platforms, telling the AFP news agency: “We have noticed the situation and we hope it won’t be permanent.” 85C began in Taiwan but has since expanded to earn more than 60 percent of its revenue in China. Losing its presence on food delivery apps would be devastating. At a glance | The One China policy China views the island as part of its own territory, and has escalated a campaign to isolate Taiwan internationally since Ms Tsai came to power in 2016. A growing number of international companies including airlines and hotels have been bending to pressure from Beijing to refer to Taiwan as part of China. The election of Donald Trump has added to Chinese unease as he showed little regard for the fine lines and grey areas of the “one China policy”. Taiwan’s state-aligned Central News Agency on Thursday quoted a top official with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Long Mingbiao, as saying in Beijing that any company that expects to invest and “make money” in China must adhere to its policies. 85C’s problems began after Tsai stopped off at a Los Angeles branch of the cafe this week during an American visit in which she became the first Taiwanese leader in 15 years to give a public speech on American soil, something Beijing staunchly opposes. Internet users in China lashed out with boycott threats and calls for the coffee chain to quit the Chinese market.


Source: Yahoo! News

How a US coffee shop sparked a diplomatic standoff between China and Taiwan

How a US coffee shop sparked a diplomatic standoff between China and TaiwanA bakery in California has found itself at the centre of an international storm after it welcomed the president of Taiwan with a cup of coffee and a goody bag. The result was a major diplomatic incident as Chinese customers launched a boycott of the 85C Bakery Cafe, which rapidly disappeared from online ordering platforms on the Chinese mainland.  The episode highlight’s Beijing’s sensitivity over an island that considers itself a sovereign state, but has never declared formal independence.  The Taiwanese-owned chain apologised and distanced itself from the views of Tsai Ing-wen, the pro-independence leader of the island, after she dropped in on Wednesday en route to visiting allies in South America.  Excited staff gave her a gift bag and took selfies, as images were uploaded to Facebook by part of her delegation. A woman looks at her mobile phone at a 85C Bakery Cafe in Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang province Credit: AFP They have since been removed but it was too late to prevent the diplomatic fallout. Beijing – which has been working to isolate countries that recognise Taiwan – warned it would oppose any businesses that support Taiwanese independence. A company official in Taipei, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that it had been removed from several online platforms, telling the AFP news agency: “We have noticed the situation and we hope it won’t be permanent.” 85C began in Taiwan but has since expanded to earn more than 60 percent of its revenue in China. Losing its presence on food delivery apps would be devastating. At a glance | The One China policy China views the island as part of its own territory, and has escalated a campaign to isolate Taiwan internationally since Ms Tsai came to power in 2016. A growing number of international companies including airlines and hotels have been bending to pressure from Beijing to refer to Taiwan as part of China. The election of Donald Trump has added to Chinese unease as he showed little regard for the fine lines and grey areas of the “one China policy”. Taiwan’s state-aligned Central News Agency on Thursday quoted a top official with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Long Mingbiao, as saying in Beijing that any company that expects to invest and “make money” in China must adhere to its policies. 85C’s problems began after Tsai stopped off at a Los Angeles branch of the cafe this week during an American visit in which she became the first Taiwanese leader in 15 years to give a public speech on American soil, something Beijing staunchly opposes. Internet users in China lashed out with boycott threats and calls for the coffee chain to quit the Chinese market.


Source: Yahoo! News

Saudi Arabia Orders Its Fund Managers to Dump Canadian Assets in Diplomatic Feud

  1. Saudi Arabia Orders Its Fund Managers to Dump Canadian Assets in Diplomatic Feud  Wall Street Journal
  2. If you’re surprised by Saudi Arabia’s fight with Canada, you haven’t been paying attention  CNN
  3. Terry Glavin: Despite what Canadians think, this spat with the Saudis is not about us  National Post
  4. Saudi Arabia Escalates Feud With Canada Over Rights Criticism  New York Times
  5. Full coverage


Source: Google News