'Cold war' in Asia-Pacific
China is warning against the renewal of Cold-War divisions and confrontations in Asia-Pacific, amid continued regional tensions over the issue of Taiwan. The fresh warning from President Xi Jinping comes just days before his planned virtual meeting with US President, Joe Biden. Taipei has been a major sticking point between the two sides. Earlier, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated Washington’s military support for Taiwan, right after a US delegation’s visit to the island angered China. Beijing says Washington should stop all forms of official interaction with Taipei. The Chinese embassy in the US has urged Washington to cooperate to bring the two countries' relations back on track, saying both sides gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation.
'Europe in danger'
The European Union foreign policy chief has warned that Europe is in danger amid fears that the continent’s military capabilities are not enough to counter threats. Josep Borrell says threats against Europe are intensifying and the capacity of individual member states to cope with them is insufficient and declining. Borrell believes EU countries need to have rapid deployment capabilities. According to the top EU diplomat, one idea is to have a 5,000-strong crisis force to be able to deal with those threats. Borrell’s comments come ahead of a summit of EU foreign and defense ministers to discuss the issue.
Germany COVID surge
Germany is joining the list of European countries that are dealing with an uptick in Covid infections and deaths. Just in the past 24 hours, the country has had more than 50-thousand new infections. And over 230 people have died of the disease during the same period. Germany’s overall death toll has now exceeded 97,000. The overall caseload is close to the grim milestone of 5 million. Experts are warning that if the aggressive fourth wave is not contained, Germany could see a hundred-thousand more fatalities. There are concerns that the surge could overwhelm hospitals and even force the postponement of surgeries.