US defense delegation visits Taiwan as China denounces trip
02 March 2022 | 12:20 pm
Former defense officials from the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama visited Taiwan. The delegation arrived amid fears Russia's Ukraine invasion could spark China's geopolitical ambitions for the island.
Call it an Olympic-sized gamble. Ahead of Chinese New Year holiday travel and the Winter Games, authorities there are sticking to their zero-Covid policy. As Omicron tears through much of the rest of the world, can the coronavirus really be barred from the Beijing Olympics?
FRANCE 24 spoke to Lu Shaye, the Chinese ambassador to France. He insisted Beijing was prioritising "peaceful reunification" with Taiwan, but said the Chinese authorities had "not ruled out the use of force" – not with the intention of targeting "the people of Taiwan", but rather to dissuade "separatists in Taiwan" and certain "foreign forces". The Chinese diplomat also said he was "sure" there would be no mass surge in Covid-19 cases during the Winter Olympics, which open in Beijing on February 4.
The duopoly of Western aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing is under pressure. Russia's MC-21 airliner is now certified to fly and China is pushing ahead with plans to enter the international market.
The birth rate in the world's most populous country, China, has fallen for a fifth consecutive year to hit a record low. The population is ageing and the workforce is shrinking. Despite ending the decades-long one-child policy, the baby boom officials had hoped for never materialised. These rapidly changing demographics foreshadow a crisis that could undercut the country's economic and social stability.
Australia's vocal criticism of China's human rights record has long angered Beijing. When Canberra called for an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus in 2020, Beijing slapped high tariffs on some Australian products.
Dozens of Chinese jets entered Taiwan's air defense zone, the island's officials said. Taiwan responded by scrambling its own fighter jets and activating missile defense systems.
Representatives of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Monday met with the ousted President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Kabore. Prior to the meeting there had been no information about the whereabouts or condition of the former leader. While the delegation did not reveal where the meeting with Korbare took place, the head of the mission, Ghanaian Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, said he was in good health.
Can Xi Jinping's China pull it off? Can happy pictures of a torch relay reduced to 72 hours and tightly cropped images of top-level competitions make the world forget about the empty seats, the Covid bubble, the artificial snow, the tight security and the pressure on sponsors over human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong?
China's decision to have a Uyghur athlete light the Olympic cauldron has drawn criticism from human rights groups, who saw it as cheap propaganda ploy to whitewash the oppression of the country's ethnic Uyghur minority.
With China gearing up for the Beijing Winter Olympics, other countries are sticking to their pledge of a diplomatic boycott on human rights grounds, especially after documentation of the government's treatment of Uyghurs. One LA business owner has turned his restaurant into a form of activism.
Taiwan 'most dangerous flashpoint' in US-China relations
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