US warned over Taipei
China issues a stern warning to the United States about encouraging Taipei to seek independence. Chinese ambassador to the US, Qin Gang, says the issue is the biggest tinder-box between Beijing and Washington. Qin warns that any efforts toward the island’s independence could raise the risk of war between China and the US. Beijing considers the Chinese Taipei an inseparable part of its own territory that should rejoin the mainland even by force, if necessary. Washington has increased its military assistance to Taipei over the past couple of years, outraging Beijing. Despite China’s anger, the US says it will continue to help Taipei in maintaining a sufficient self-defense capability.
Russia standoff with West
The standoff between Russia and the West persists over Ukraine. Russia says if the United States and NATO don’t change their position, it won’t make compromises on its security proposals either. Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov says the US and NATO position is based on distortion of facts. But, he added, Russia’s position is based on what it has previously signed that no one should strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others. The top Russian diplomat has stressed that his country wants its security concerns be alleviated in the Ukraine standoff. Part of those concerns is related to NATO’s increased activity in Eastern Europe and the military alliance’s expansion further east. Moscow is also worried about deployment of US nuclear weapons in Europe and wants their removal. The US however has spoken of more troop deployment.
The Saudi-led coalition carries out fresh airstrikes on Yemen, targeting various areas across the country. Yemeni media say the coalition bombarded several provinces 30 times over the past hours. No reports of possible casualties yet. Riyadh and its allies have stepped up their air raids on Yemen in recent weeks, taking scores of lives including civilians. That follows increased retaliatory attacks by the Yemeni army and its allied popular forces. They have hit targets on Saudi and UAE soil, and tightened grip on their mercenaries fighting inside Yemen. The latest such attack using ballistic missiles hit a group of Daesh and UAE-backed mercenaries in Shabwah province. Yemeni ambassador to Iran, Ibrahim Dailami, says the retaliatory attacks will continue until invading forces leave his country.