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Why is a New War Coming to Afghanistan?

By Salman Rafi Sheikh – New Eastern Outlook – May 19, 2022

Afghanistan, every now and then, is hit by a bomb attack. Most of the recent attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State in Khorasan (terrorist organization, banned in Russia)). Its ability to orchestrate highly sophisticated attacks shows that the group, contrary to the claims the US military officials made during the US occupation of Afghanistan, has not lost its strength at all. But, to the surprise of many, the IS-K, while a potent threat to the Taliban and the wider region of South and Central Asia, a new armed resistance is emerging against the Taliban, this time led by local Afghans rather than transnational jihadis. Afghanistan’s National Resistance Front (NRF) being led by Ahmad Massoud and Amrullah Saleh, Afghanistan’s former vice president, has officially launched an offensive against the Taliban. Scores of other armed groups, too, have announced their formations and declared their intentions, on their Facebook pages and otherwise, to resist the Taliban on their own or in alliance with the NRF.

According to claims made by the NRF’s Ali Nazary, head of NRF’s foreign relations, a fully-fledged offensive has been launched in the Panjshir valley, in at least three districts. The NRF has a presence across Afghanistan’s many provinces. As Ali Nazary told the Associated Press of France in an interview, the NRF will launch operations in all the provinces to drive out what it calls illegal occupants (i.e., the Taliban) of power in Kabul.

To be sure, the NRF is not the only group. An ex-general in the Afghan army, Sami Sadat, recently vowed to “continue to fight.” In an interview given to the BBC, Sadat said he would “do anything and everything in our powers to make sure Afghanistan is freed from the Taliban and a democratic system is re-established.”

Most of the media projection – especially in the West – about the emerging resistance against the Taliban is tied to the failure of the Taliban to develop a politically and ethnically inclusive system. Many important political groups have been excluded and the Taliban high command has captured power, with most of the key ministries being led by key Taliban commanders, including the Haqqanis. On top of this is the Taliban’s gradual return to implementing an orthodox interpretation of Islam to regulate politics and society at large.

While all of these issues do point to certain political problems, the emerging resistance has some geopolitical underpinnings too. Consider this: Sadat, who was until recently was nowhere to be seen, emerged out of thin air and suddenly became so important as to attract the BBC for an interview. The fact that the BBC interviewed him and published his views shows (1) how new anti-Taliban personalities are being dug up by the West, and (2) how they are being given international projection.

While the criticism the Taliban are facing has a valid foundation, it is also true that Afghanistan’s new war is being planned somewhere else. As some reports have shown, US envoys have been holding meetings with the NRF in Tajikistan, where the latter is based.

Media reports in the west are already predicting a ‘new fighting season’ in Afghanistan. While Sadat was interviewed by the BBC, Britain’s state broadcaster, a news report carried by the Voice of America (VoA), America’s state-owned broadcaster, too, showed how anti-Taliban resistance is already coming of age.

According to the report, apart from the NRF, there is an ‘Afghanistan Freedom Front.’ According to VoA, it is being led by General Yasin Zia, a former defense minister and chief of general staff. Another group is ‘Afghanistan Islamic National and Liberation Movement’ is being led by Abdul Mateen Sulaimankhail, a former Afghan Army special forces commander.

Why is the west giving state-level projections to these groups? This sudden projection comes against the backdrop of Russia’s and China’s growing ties with the Taliban, and an ever-increasing possibility of both Moscow and Beijing extending legitimacy to the Taliban rule by recognising it. This comes against the backdrop of an emerging understanding between the Taliban and China and Russia that the former will make sure not to allow anti-China and anti-Russian groups to spread into their territories. In exchange, Beijing and Moscow will help the Taliban.

In his latest visit to Kabul, China’s Wangi Yi told Taliban officials that “China respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, respects the independent choices made by the Afghan people and respects the religious beliefs and national customs of Afghanistan.” In the same meeting, Wang was assured that the Taliban will improve the “security environment” of Afghanistanin in ways to make it safe for China/region.

For China, therefore, Afghanistan is turning into a hospitable country, offering an increasing possibility of extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan as well. Indeed, Wang Yi hinted during the same visit that China is considering it seriously.

Improving security and the political environment is something that Russia also believes is developing in Afghanistan. In a statement released on April 29, 2022, the Russian Foreign Minister said that “since the Taliban’s accession to power, the military-political situation in Afghanistan has become relatively stable,” which means that Russia thinks the Taliban might be able to rule Afghanistan effectively.

It is against this geopolitical backdrop that we must understand the emergence of anti-Taliban resistance. A challenge from within Afghanistan, led by Afghans themselves, against Kabul would challenge the Russian and Chinese claims, and indeed the Taliban’s own claim, that Afghanistan is stabilising. A large-scale insurgency, or a civil war, in Afghanistan will, yet again, force China to withdraw its CPEC extension plans, as well as forcing Russia to rethink the possibility of extending its cooperation. On the other hand, it will also allow the West to withdraw whatever support it has been providing to the Taliban in favour of supporting these resistance groups.

In short, therefore, there is as much, or even more, geopolitics tied to the emerging resistance as domestic politics i.e., the Taliban’s decision to exclude regional elites and the latter’s decision to resist their exclusion.

Salman Rafi Sheikh is a research-analyst of International Relations and Pakistan’s foreign and domestic affairs.

May 20, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Chinese Dimension of Russia’s Coal Business in a New Environment

By Petr Konovalov – New Eastern Outlook – 16.05.2022

Various projects to do away with coal and switch to other fuels that emit less combustion gases have long been discussed in developed countries. Some experts have even begun to predict the imminent demise of the entire global coal industry. One of the reasons for these forecasts has been statements by China, the world’s main coal consumer, that it also wants to reduce its use of coal as much as possible, along with Western countries.

However, despite all these claims, coal is still the cheapest and most transportable fuel, which no country with a developed industry can do without. The global coal trade continues to grow, generating good revenues for its main suppliers, including Russia.

In 2020, the Russian Federation produced about 401 million tons of coal, 199 million of which was exported to other countries.

In 2021, tensions between the PRC and Australia escalated, causing China to stop importing Australian coal and contributing to an increase in Chinese coal purchases from Russia.

By the end of 2021, Russian coal production was about 440 million tons per year, with 227 million tons exported. Thus, both Russian coal production and exports have shown significant growth. Of the above-mentioned coal exports, 129 million tons were sold to the Asia-Pacific region, which is particularly noteworthy because it is specifically this region that has major coal consumers such as China, South Korea and Japan, making the APR market particularly attractive for all coal exporters. China received 53 million tons of Russian coal, 20 million tons more than in 2020, earning Russia $7.4 billion.

In total, the Russian Federation accounted for more than 16% of the global coal market in 2021, 12% of the APR market and 15% of the Chinese market.

Since the Chinese coal situation came rather unexpectedly, the Russian Federation could not fully replace Australia on the Chinese market: most of Russia’s coal exports had already been allocated to other buyers and there was not enough time to multiply production. As a result, faced with an energy crisis, China started importing Australian coal again in late 2021, partly lifting the restrictions. However, the situation at the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022 still looked encouraging for the Russian coal sector. First, experience has shown that China cannot do without coal; Chinese decarbonization projects, which Beijing has been talking about for years, will not be implemented anytime soon – until then, the Celestial Empire will be importing coal. Second, having experienced power shortages without Australian coal, Beijing was able to see that its reliance on one supplier, Australia, was excessive. The tensions with Canberra in 2020-2021 are just one part of the larger political and economic confrontation between China and the West, and there could be many more conflicts ahead for the PRC and Australia. Therefore, to secure its energy sector, China needs to diversify its coal imports, including by further increasing supplies from Russia.

In February 2022, the media reported that Beijing and Moscow were negotiating an intergovernmental agreement under which coal supplies from Russia to China could be increased to 100 million tons per year.

However, at the end of February, a special operation by Russian troops in Ukraine began and the situation changed dramatically. The West has unleashed a torrent of sanctions on Russia, including Western countries starting to reduce imports of Russian hydrocarbons. In March 2022, for example, Russian coal shipments to the EU dropped by around 50%.

Although China is not an ally of the West, Russian coal exports to the Celestial Empire are also on the decline, as Chinese banks have reduced funding for related operations for fear of Western sanctions. The disconnection of a number of Russian banks from the SWIFT international payment system and the fact that most of the coal purchase contracts were in dollars also played a role: the Chinese side has had difficulty making payments.

Some pro-Western media have concluded that the Russian coal industry has suffered serious damage, that trade with China will not compensate for this damage, and that coal exports may not recover to their previous levels. However, such conclusions are rather premature.

Thus, despite the overall decline in the Russian coal exports to the PRC, exports of coking coal, a type of hard coal particularly valuable for the steel industry, increased in the first quarter of 2022. It can be assumed that the decline in Chinese purchases of other types of coal, which are used for winter heating, for example, may be due to the approaching summer period.

China now has a considerable supply of different types of coal, and in the run-up to the warm season, when there is no need for mass home heating, it can afford to reduce coal imports to explore new conditions. By autumn, however, it can be expected that Chinese-Russian coal cooperation will intensify.

As for sanctions-related difficulties, talks began as early as March between Russia and China on settlements in national currencies and on the use of CIPS, China’s equivalent of SWIFT.

It should further be noted that the Chinese side’s caution over the threat of Western sanctions is also a temporary phenomenon, as the PRC’s relations with the West are not good at all, and China may soon fall under its own sanctions regardless of its relations with Russia. Especially in view of certain features of Chinese foreign policy: on May 6, 2022, for example, some 15 Chinese planes entered the airspace of the partially recognized state of Taiwan, which the PRC considers part of its territory. The Taiwanese have scrambled their warplanes and put their air defense forces on alert. Fortunately, the incident ended peacefully. However, since Taiwan is under the protection of the US military, there is no doubt that the incident will further strain Chinese-US relations, and if it continues, the PRC will soon find itself in the same “sanctions boat” as Russia. In this case, Chinese coal imports from Australia are likely to suffer again.

It can therefore be assumed that China is seeking economic independence from the US and its allies, including from Australian coal supplies, and the Chinese leadership is already working out how to circumvent Western sanctions. One can fully expect that joint efforts in this area will soon allow Russia and China to move towards more intensive trade, including in coal and other energy sources.

May 16, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Global demand for vaccines drops sharply

Free West Media | May 14, 2022

Chinese biotech firm Kexing Holdings has made a fortune selling Sinovac’s Chinese vaccine. A few days ago, however, it became known that the bonus payments were withheld and most of the workforce has been laid off. Exports of Chinese vaccines (Sinovac, Sinopharm, CanSino) were 97 percent lower in April than in September 2021.

The Chinese outlet Caitong News reported, citing Kexing employees, that the company made a profit of 82 billion yuan (around 11.6 billion euros) last year. At the same time, the company announced that the year-end bonus payment for the past year would be “postponed”.

Shortly thereafter, Kexing suddenly announced massive layoffs. According to Kexing officials, the company has given staff two options: resign themselves and collect an indefinite severance pay, or take indefinite leave. In the latter case, with 80 percent of Beijing’s minimum wage as compensation.

According to the report, Kexing (Sinovac) has already laid off up to 70 percent of its staff. After the last wave of layoffs was completed in April of this year, the year-end bonuses were then distributed to the remaining employees on April 25. There is no statement or justification for the layoffs by Kexing. However, according to Japanese media reports, China’s vaccine exports have fallen sharply.

Thus, Nikkei Asia, citing UNICEF, reported that the vaccine against Covid-19, which is manufactured by three Chinese companies Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSino, exported a total of 6,78 million doses in April this year. This is a drop of 97 percent compared to the peak exports in September 2021.

Massive drop in exports also for other Covid jabs

Global demand for vaccines has fallen sharply this year. Not only the exports of Chinese vaccines have fallen sharply due to their ineffectiveness against the Omicron variant.

Exports of Moderna’s and Pfizer’s mRNA drugs are also down 57 and 71 percent, respectively, compared to September last year, according to the report. Pfizer’s exports are nevertheless still eight times those of the three Chinese companies combined.

In South Africa, vaccine production has been grinding to a halt due to the fact that there are no orders.

Vaccine production in Africa almost halted

In South Africa, for example, the pharmaceutical company Aspen, which produces its own filling of the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson and sells it under the name Aspenovax, reported that there were no orders.

“It is feared that the production of the vaccine in South Africa will have to end. There is simply no demand for it. Not a single order has come in for weeks,” German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

The risk is “very high that the company will actually stop producing Johnson & Johnson vaccines,” the head of the African health authority (African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is quoted as saying in the report. Only around 12 percent of the population in Africa have been vaccinated twice. About 40 percent of the vaccine doses shipped to Africa were not used.

The over-supply of free Covid-19 vaccine doses — donated by high-income countries — had closed the gap that Aspen was meant to fill in the market.

According to another German daily, the Tagesanzeiger, millions of BioNTech vaccine doses will have to be disposed of in June.

The comparatively young population of Africa is hardly affected by Corona and faces completely different challenges, such as malaria or the impending starvation catastrophe. Against the background of the threat of starvation or an infection with malaria, which affects millions of people and kills hundreds of thousands every year, there is simply no room for media hysteria around the Corona virus.

May 14, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 1 Comment

Russia sanctions will trigger global food and energy crises – China

Samizdat | May 12, 2022

The international sanctions campaign to punish Russia over the Ukraine conflict will backfire, causing suffering by people around the world while failing to promote peace in the former Soviet republic, a top Chinese diplomat has told the UN Security Council.

“Sanctions will not bring peace but will only accelerate the spillover of the crisis, triggering sweeping food, energy and financial crises across the globe,” Chinese deputy UN ambassador Dai Bing said on Thursday in New York. He added that continuing to impose sanctions on Moscow will force children around the world to “suffer the bitter consequences.”

Dai made his comments as the Security Council met to discuss the humanitarian crisis brought on by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Although he also spoke of efforts to help protect children affected by the fighting, such as encouraging Russia and Ukraine to work together to enable more civilian evacuations, he said the only real solution is a negotiated peace deal.

“Achieving peace is the best protection for children,” Dai said. “Dialogue and negotiation are the most realistic and feasible way to reach a ceasefire and to stop the war. The international community should encourage Russia and Ukraine to return to the negotiation track and keep accumulating political conditions for the restoration of peace.”

By instead trying to force a resolution through sanctions, Western nations and their allies are actually causing more harm to children, especially those living in such war-torn places as Afghanistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region, Dai said. “China again calls on parties to stay rational and exercise restraint, transcend prejudice and strife, and make unremitting efforts for the early resolution of the crisis in Ukraine.”

The US and its NATO allies have spearheaded the sanctions campaign, trying to isolate Russia and devastate its economy and currency. However, the ruble is actually stronger today than before the Ukraine crisis began, rebounding from an historic low reached in March. In fact, it has been the world’s top-performing currency so far in 2022, even though Russia’s economy is reportedly on track to contract by an estimated 12% this year.

Meanwhile, food and energy shortages are looming around the world, and inflation is at around a 40-year high in the US and parts of Western Europe. President Vladimir Putin claimed on Thursday that sanctions are triggering a global economic crisis, and the blame “lies entirely with the elites of Western countries who are ready to sacrifice the rest of the world to maintain their global dominance.”

May 12, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , , , | 2 Comments

US’ coercive diplomacy with Saudi Arabia

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | MAY 6, 2022

Some three weeks after the reported meeting of the CIA chief William Burns with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammed bin Sultan, the OPEC+ ministerial held a videoconference on Thursday. 

The OPEC+ meet drew satisfaction that “continuing oil market fundamentals and the consensus on the outlook pointed to a balanced market.” The press release issued in Vienna says the ministerial “further noted the continuing effects of geopolitical factors and issues related to the ongoing pandemic” and decided that the OPEC+ sticks to the monthly production adjustment mechanism agreed in July last year “to adjust upward the monthly overall production by 0.432 million barrels/day for the month of June 2022.” 

As per the former publisher of the Journal Karen Elliott House, Burns came to Saudi Arabia for a “mating dance” with Prince Mohammad — namely, the Prince must cooperate on a new oil-for-security strategy to “increase production to save European nations from energy shortages.” 

Burns’ visit to the Kingdom took place just ahead of the 5th round of Saudi-Iranian normalisation talks in Baghdad between the Saudi intelligence chief and the deputy head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. The Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi who was acting as mediator and attended the latest round of talks told the state media last week, “Our brothers in Saudi Arabia and Iran approach the dialogue with a big responsibility as demanded by the current regional situation. We are convinced that reconciliation is near.” 

Nournews, affiliated to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, also reported on April 24 that the fifth round of talks on a possible détente was “constructive” and the negotiators managed “to draw a clearer picture” of how to resume bilateral relations, and, “given the constructive bilateral dialogue so far, there is a possibility of a meeting between the Iranian and Saudi top diplomats in the near future.” 

Burns’ mission couldn’t have been indifferent toward the Saudis’ reconciliation track with Tehran. With the outcome of the JCPOA talks in Vienna uncertain, Iran’s close ties with Russia and China remains a major worry for Washington. And with Tehran’s stubborn refusal to trim its regional policies to suit US regional strategies, Washington has fallen back on the default option to resuscitate the anti-Iran front of its regional allies. The US hopes that Saudi Arabia will come on board the Abraham Accords. 

Meanwhile, the issue of oil prices has returned to the centre stage. Indeed, high oil prices mean high income for Russia. Russia’s sales of oil and natural gas far exceeded initial forecasts for 2021 as a result of skyrocketing prices, accounting for 36% of the country’s total budget. The revenues exceeded initial plans by 51.3%, totalling  $119 billion. The Biden administration’s best-laid plans to cripple the Russian economy are unravelling. Equally, high oil price is also a domestic issue for Biden. Above all, unless Europe finds other oil sources, it will continue buying Russian oil. 

However, Prince Mohammad has a different agenda. He is likely to rule Saudi Arabia for many decades—half a century if he lives to 86, his father’s age. And the Prince has been remarkably successful in creating a “power base”. His lifestyle changes have been a smashing hit with Saudis 35 and under—70% of the Kingdom’s citizens — and his ambition to transform Saudi Arabia into a modern technological leader ignites the imagination of the youth. 

Clearly, his refusal to punish Russia and his gesture to place the princely amount of $2bn in a new, untested investment fund started by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner speak for themselves. Prince Mohammed would have his own reasons too, starting with Biden’s contemptuous reference to Saudi Arabia as a “Pariah” state and refusal to deal in person. 

The Prince hit back recently by declining to take a call from Joe Biden. Besides, the US’ restrictions on arms sales; insufficient response to attacks on Saudi Arabia by Houthi forces; publication of a report into the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi — all these are in play here. 

Even if the administration is able to get Congressional approval for new security guarantees for Saudi Arabia (which is rather problematic), Prince Mohammad may not be swayed, since at the end of the day, high oil prices boost Saudi budget too. 

The paradox is, both Saudi Arabia and Russia are stakeholders in OPEC+ as is evident from the explicit warning to the EU by OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Barkindo last month that it would be impossible to replace more than 7 million barrels per day of Russian oil and other liquids exports potentially lost due to current or future sanctions or voluntary actions. 

In such a torrential stream where crosscurrents are foaming and weltering, what probably unnerves the Biden Administration most could be the talk that Chinese President Xi Jinping may be planning to visit Saudi Arabia, amidst persistent reports recently that Riyadh and Beijing are in talks to price some of the Gulf nation’s oil sales in yuan rather than dollars, which would indeed mark a profound shift for the oil market and help advance China’s efforts to convince more countries and international investors to transact in its currency. 

The Saudi explanation for the shift to the yuan is that the kingdom could use part of new currency revenues to pay Chinese contractors involved in mega projects within the kingdom domestically, which would reduce the risks associated with the capital controls Beijing imposes on its currency. But, for Washington, that means certain sensitive Saudi-China transactions in yuan do not appear in the rearview mirror of the SWIFT messaging infrastructure, making transaction monitoring unviable.  

There are persistent US reports that with Chinese support, Saudi Arabia may be constructing a new uranium processing facility near Al Ula to enhance its pursuit of nuclear technology. Saudi Arabia’s generous $8 billion in financial support for Pakistan, unveiled this week, will almost certainly raise hiccups in Washington. 

Saudi Arabia is a central pillar of China’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative and ranks in the top three countries globally for Chinese construction projects, according to the China Global Investment Tracker, run by the American Enterprise Institute. Suffice to say, the CIA chief’s call could not have been for a friendly chat with Prince Mohammad. 

May 6, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 2 Comments

With no missile host in Pacific, new US strategy seeks to arm Japan against China

Press TV – May 4, 2022

The United States is struggling to find allies in the Indo-Pacific region who would be willing to host its intermediate-range missiles (IRBM), a new report has found.

The report by US-based think tank RAND Corporation, close to the Pentagon, looks at the likelihood of Pacific countries agreeing to host US IRBMs, the benefits and drawbacks of potential alternatives, and the most feasible alternative.

The report finds that the US strategy that relies on an ally agreeing to permanently host these ground-based IRBMs is bound to fail because of its inability to find a willing partner in the Pacific region.

The author of the report concludes that in the absence of any willing hosts, Washington should encourage Japan to develop a missile arsenal of its own to threaten Chinese ships, thus using Japan as a pawn in its no-holds-barred war against China.

After the US pulled out from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 2019, it sought to develop and deploy ground-based missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km.

That immediately sparked a debate on where the US will deploy those missiles. Since China was not a signatory of the INF and had developed missiles of its own, Americans eyed the Indo-Pacific region.

The author of the report looks at the likelihood of US allies in the Indo-Pacific region—Australia, Japan, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, and Thailand—hosting its IRBMs to counter the Chinese threat, but finds all of them unwilling.

He also examines alternatives to permanently basing US missiles on allies’ territories, but finds drawbacks with each alternative and thus recommends Japan develop an arsenal of ground-based anti-ship standoff missile capabilities at the behest of the US.

In the report published on Monday, the author argues that “the likely receptivity to hosting such systems is very low as long as current domestic political conditions and regional security trends hold,” referring to Thailand, Australia, South Korea, the Philippines, and Japan.

As long as Thailand “continues to have a military-backed government that pursues closer ties with China”, the US “would not want Thailand to host GBIRMs”, it notes.

In the Philippines, as long as a president “continues policies toward the United States and China similar to those of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines is “extremely unlikely to accept US GBIRMs.”

The government of South Korea shares ties with China, so Seoul also is “highly unlikely” to agree to host US missiles amid “a general deterioration of US-ROK relations.”

Australia’s historical ties with the US mean that the possibility cannot be ruled out, but “its historical reluctance to host permanent foreign bases and its distance from continental Asia make this unlikely.”

Japan is willing to “bolster its own defense capabilities vis-à-vis China,” but is reluctant to accept any increase in the US military presence or “deploying weapons that are explicitly offensive in nature”, the report says.

The report suggests that to continue to pursue GBIRMs for the Indo-Pacific, the strategy most likely to succeed would be “helping Japan develop an arsenal of ground-based, anti-ship missile capabilities”.

“This would be the first step in a longer-term US strategy to encourage Japan to procure similar missiles with longer ranges,” it states.

Meanwhile, the foreign affairs chief of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said on Tuesday that the country should deploy surface-launched intermediate-range missiles in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido to deter missile attacks from China, Russia and North Korea.

Masahisa Sato, the head of the LDP Foreign Affairs Division, made the remarks at an event in Washington organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a US think tank.

Washington has in recent years made strenuous efforts to make inroads into the strategic Indo-Pacific region, with singular aim of countering the rise of Chinese dragon. The attempts, however, have produced no results.

In a bid to ramp up its diplomatic engagement with Pacific countries, the Biden administration is set to host leaders from the region later this year, a senior US government official said on Monday.

Kurt Campbell, who serves as coordinator for Indo-Pacific affairs on the US National Security Council, made the announcement at a US-New Zealand business summit, amid rising tensions with China.

May 5, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov interview with Xinhua News Agency

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs | April 30, 2022

QuestionWhat do you think is at the root of the Ukrainian crisis? What can the international community do to solve this problem?

Sergey Lavrov When we talk about the Ukrainian crisis, first of all we need to look at the destructive policy of the Western states conducted over many years and led by the United States, which set a course to knock together a unipolar world order after the end of the Cold War. NATO’s reckless expansion to the East was a key component of those actions, despite the political obligations to the Soviet leadership on the non-expansion of the Alliance. As you know, those promises were just empty words. All these years, NATO infrastructure has been moving closer and closer to the Russian borders.

The West was never concerned about the fact that their actions grossly violated their international obligations not to strengthen their own security at the expense of the security of others. In particular, Washington and Brussels arrogantly rejected the initiatives put forward by Russia in December 2021 to ensure our country’s security guarantees in the west: to stop the expansion of NATO, not to deploy armaments that pose a threat to Russia in Ukraine and to return the Alliance’s military infrastructure to the 1997 configuration, when the NATO-Russia Founding Act was signed.

It is well-known that the United States and NATO member states have always viewed Ukraine as a tool to contain Russia. Over the years, they have actively fuelled anti-Russia sentiments there, forcing Kiev to make an artificial and false choice: to be either with the West or with Moscow.

It was the collective West that first provoked and then supported the anti-constitutional coup d’etat in Kiev in February 2014. Nationalists came to power in Ukraine and immediately unleashed a bloody massacre in Donbass, and set the course on the destruction of everything Russian in the rest of the country. Let me remind you that it was precisely because of this threat that the people of Crimea voted in a referendum for the reunification with Russia in 2014.

Over these past years, the United States and its allies have done nothing to stop the intra-Ukrainian conflict. Instead of encouraging Kiev to settle it politically based on the Minsk Complex of Measures, they sent weapons, trained and armed the Ukrainian army and nationalist battalions, and generally carried out the military-political development of Ukraine’s territory. They encouraged the aggressive anti-Russia course pursued by the Kiev authorities. In fact, they pushed the Ukrainian nationalists to undermine the negotiating process and resolve the Donbass issue by force.

We were deeply concerned about the undeclared biological programmes implemented in Ukraine with Pentagon’s support in close proximity to the Russian borders. And, of course, we could not disregard the Kiev leadership’s undisguised intentions to acquire a military nuclear potential, which would create an unacceptable threat to Russia’s national security.

In these conditions, we had no other choice but to recognise the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and launch the special military operation. Its aim is to protect people from genocide by the neo-Nazis, as well as to demilitarise and denazify Ukraine. I would like to stress that Russia is acting to fulfil its obligations under bilateral agreements on cooperation and mutual assistance with the DPR and LPR, at the official request of Donetsk and Lugansk under Article 51 of the UN Charter on the right to self-defence.

The special military operation launched on February 24 is progressing strictly in accordance with the plan. All its goals will be achieved in spite of our opponents’ counteractions. At the moment we are witnessing a classic case of double standards and hypocrisy of the Western establishment. By publicly supporting the Kiev regime, NATO member states are doing everything in their power to prevent the completion of the operation by reaching political agreements. Various weapons are flowing endlessly into Ukraine through Poland and other NATO countries. All of this is being done under the pretext of “fighting the invasion”, but in fact the United States and the European Union intend to fight Russia “to the last Ukrainian.” They do not care at all about the fate of Ukraine as an independent subject of international relations.

The West is ready to jeopardise the energy and food security of entire regions of the globe to satisfy its own geopolitical ambitions. What other explanation is there for the unrestrained flywheel of anti-Russian sanctions launched by the West with the start of the operation and which they aren’t thinking of stopping?

If the United States and NATO are truly interested in settling the Ukrainian crisis, then, first, they must come to their senses and stop supplying weapons and ammunition to Kiev. The Ukrainian people do not need Stingers and Javelins; what they need is a solution to urgent humanitarian issues. Russia has been doing this since 2014. During this time, tens of thousands of tonnes of humanitarian cargo have been delivered to Donbass, and about 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid have already arrived in the part of Ukraine liberated from the Kiev regime, the DPR and the LPR, since the launch of the special military operation.

Second, it is essential that the Kiev regime stops cynical provocations, including in the information space. Ukrainian armed formations are barbarically shelling cities using civilians as living shields. We saw examples of this in Donetsk and Kramatorsk. Captured Russian servicemen are being abused with animal cruelty, and these atrocities are being posted online. At the same time, they use their Western patrons and global media controlled by the West to accuse the Russian army of war crimes. As they say, laying the blame at somebody else’s door.

It is high time for the West to stop unconditionally whitewashing and covering up for Kiev. Otherwise, Washington, Brussels and other Western capitals should consider their responsibility for complicity in the bloody crimes perpetrated by the Ukrainian nationalists.

Question: What measures has Russia taken to protect the lives and property of civilians? What efforts has it made to establish humanitarian corridors?

Sergey Lavrov: As I mentioned earlier, the special military operation is proceeding according to plan. Under this plan, the Russian military personnel are doing everything in their power to avoid victims among civilians. Blows are carried out with high-precision weapons, first of all at military infrastructure facilities and places where armoured vehicles are concentrated. Unlike the Ukrainian army and nationalist armed groups that use people as living shields, the Russian army provides the locals with all kinds of assistance and support.

Humanitarian corridors open daily from Kharkov and Mariupol to evacuate people from dangerous districts, but the Kiev regime demands that the “national battalions” in control of those areas do not release the civilians. Nevertheless, many are able to leave with the assistance of Russian, DPR and LPR servicemen. During the special military operation, the hotline of the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine has received requests for assistance in evacuating 2.8 million people to Russia, including 16,000 foreign citizens and employees of UN and OSCE international missions. In total, 1.02 million people have been evacuated from Ukraine, the DPR and LPR, of which over 120,000 are citizens of third countries, including over 300 Chinese nationals. There are over 9,500 temporary accommodation facilities operating in Russian regions. They have space for rest and hot meals, and everything that may be necessary. Newly arrived refugees are provided with qualified medical and psychological assistance.

Russia is taking measures to ensure civilian navigation in the Black and Azov seas. A humanitarian corridor opens daily, a safe lane for ships. However, Ukraine continues to block foreign ships, creating a threat of shelling in its internal waters and territorial sea. Moreover, Ukrainian naval units have mined the shore, the ports and territorial waters. These explosive devices disconnect from their anchor lines and drift into the open sea, so they pose a serious danger to both the fleets and the port infrastructure of the Black Sea countries.

QuestionSince the special military operation was launched in Ukraine, Western counties have adopted a large number of unprecedented sanctions against Moscow. How do you think these sanctions will affect Russia? What are the main countermeasures taken by Russia? Some say that a new Cold War has begun. How would you comment on that?

Sergey Lavrov: It is true that the special military operation was used by the collective West as a pretext to unleash numerous restrictions against Russia, as well as its legal entities and individuals. The United States, Great Britain, Canada and EU countries do not conceal that their goal is to strangle our economy by undermining its competitiveness and blocking Russia’s progressive development. At the same time, the Western ruling circles are not embarrassed by the fact that anti-Russian sanctions are already beginning to harm ordinary people in their own countries. I mean the declining economic trends in the United States and many European countries, including growing inflation and unemployment.

It is clear that there can be no excuse for this anti-Russian line and it has no future. As President Vladimir Putin said, Russia has withstood this unprecedented pressure. Now the situation is stabilising, though, of course, not all risks are behind us.

In any case, they will not succeed in weakening us. I am confident that we will restructure the economy and protect ourselves from our opponents’ possible illegitimate and hostile actions in the future. We will continue to give a fitting and adequate response to the imposed restrictions, guided by the goal of maintaining the stability of the Russian economy and its financial system, as well as the interests of domestic businesses and the entire nation. We will focus our efforts on de-dollarisation, de-offshorisation, import substitution, and promotion of technological independence. We will continue to adapt to external challenges and step up development programmes for promising and competitive industries.

During the period of turbulence, our retaliatory special economic measures needed to ensure the normal functioning of the Russian economy will be continued and expanded. As a responsible player on the international market, Russia intends to continue scrupulously fulfilling its obligations under international contracts on export deliveries of agricultural products, fertilisers, energy carriers and other critical products. We are deeply concerned about a possible food crisis provoked by the anti-Russian sanctions, and we are well aware how important the deliveries of essential goods, such as food, are for the socioeconomic development of Asian, African, Latin American, and Middle Eastern countries.

I will be brief as regards the second part of your question. Today we are not talking about a new “cold war,” but, as I said earlier, about the persistent desire to impose a US-centric model of the world order coming from Washington and its satellites, who imagine themselves to be “arbiters of humankind’s fate.” It has reached the point where the Western minority is trying to replace the UN-centric architecture and international law formed after World War II with their own “rule-based order.” These rules are written by Washington and its allies and then imposed on the international community as binding.

We must realise that the United States has been carrying out this destructive policy for several decades now. It is enough to recall NATO’s aggression against Yugoslavia, attacks on Iraq and Libya, attempts to destroy Syria, as well as the colour revolutions that Western capitals staged in a number of countries, including Ukraine. All of this came at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and resulted in chaos in various regions of the planet.

The West tries to crudely suppress those who carry out an independent course in their domestic and foreign policy. Not just Russia. We can see how bloc thinking is being imposed in the Asian-Pacific Region. We can recall the Indo-Pacific strategy promoted by the United States, which has a pronounced anti-China tendency. The US seeks to dictate the standards according to which Latin America should live, in the spirit of the outdated Monroe Doctrine. This explains many years of the illegal trade embargo on Cuba, sanctions against Venezuela, as well as attempts to undermine stability in Nicaragua and other countries. The pressure on Belarus continues in the same context. This list can go on.

It is clear that the collective West’s efforts to oppose the natural course of history and solve its problems at the expense of others are doomed. Today the world has several decision-making centres; it is multipolar. We can see how quickly Asian, African, and Latin American countries are developing. Everyone is getting a real freedom of choice, including where it comes to choosing their development models and participation in integration projects. Our special military operation in Ukraine also contributes to the process of freeing the world from the West’s neocolonial oppression heavily mixed with racism and a complex of exceptionalism.

The faster the West accepts the new geopolitical situation, the better it will be for the West itself and for the entire international community.

As President Xi Jinping said at the Boao Forum for Asia, “We need to uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security.”

QuestionRussian-Ukrainian talks have attracted close attention of the international community. What are the main obstacles to the talks today? How do you regard the prospects of a peace treaty between the two parties? What kind of bilateral relations does Russia intend to have with Ukraine in the future?

Sergey LavrovAt present the Russian and Ukrainian delegations are holding discussions on the possible draft almost daily, via videoconference. This document should contain such elements of the post-conflict situation as permanent neutrality, the non-nuclear, non-bloc and demilitarised status of Ukraine, as well as guarantees of its security. The agenda of the talks also includes denazification, recognition of the new geopolitical reality, the lifting of sanctions and the status of the Russian language, among other things. Settling the situation in Ukraine will make a significant contribution to the de-escalation of the military and political tensions in Europe and the world in general. The establishment of an institution of guarantor states is envisaged as a possible option. First of all, they will be the permanent members of the UN Security Council, including Russia and China. We share information on the progress in the talks with Chinese diplomats. We are grateful to Beijing and other BRICS partners for their balanced position on the Ukrainian issue.

We are in favour of continuing the talks, although the process is difficult.

You are right to ask about the obstacles. For example, they include the militant rhetoric and incendiary actions of Kiev’s Western patrons. They are actually encouraging Kiev to “fight to the last Ukrainian,” pumping the country with weapons and sending mercenaries there. Let me note that the Ukrainian security services staged a crude bloody provocation in Bucha with the help of the West, to complicate the negotiation process among other things.

I am confident that agreements can only be reached when Kiev starts to be guided by the interests of the Ukrainian people, and not the advisors from far away.

Speaking about Russian-Ukrainian relations, Russia is interested in a peaceful, free, neutral, prosperous and friendly Ukraine. Despite the current administration’s anti-Russian course, we remember the many centuries of all-embracing cultural, spiritual, economic and family ties between Russians and Ukrainians. We will definitely restore these ties.

May 2, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

US wants EU to sanction China for its Ukraine-Russia policy

By Paul Antonopoulos | April 27, 2022

Washington is trying to convince Europe that it has the ability to influence China’s relationship with Russia. However, Beijing’s stance on Ukraine and associated threats from the West are unlikely to deter it from deepening cooperation with Moscow.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited Brussels from April 19 to 22 and forced the Europeans to listen to Washington’s arguments about the possibility of imposing sanctions on China if it provided material support for Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. At an event organised by the US and EU-funded “Friends of Europe” group, Sherman again warned that China would face sanctions similar to those being imposed on Russia.

After Sherman’s meeting with Bjoern Seibert, Chief of Staff for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the State Department said the two sides agreed that they must urge China not to circumvent sanctions against Moscow or offer any support for Russia’s special operation in Ukraine.

Effectively, the US is instructing Europeans on the policies they must adopt to counter Russia’s action in Ukraine, making a mockery of the efforts by French President Emmanuel Macron to create a “strategically autonomous” Europe. Macron’s emboldened announcement of Europe’s “strategic autonomy” from the US was exposed as being nothing more than a buzzword with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine as Paris immediately abandoned all efforts of diplomacy after ignoring Moscow’s years-long complaints regarding Ukraine’s illegal and provocative actions in Donbass. This is on top of imposing sanctions that negatively affect the average European citizen.

For all this talk of “strategic autonomy”, Brussels has just once again demonstrated that it is obedient and submissive to Washington. However, despite the EU imposing sanctions, closing its airspace to Russian planes and delivering weapons to Ukraine, the US is clearly not satisfied and sent Sherman to Brussels to ensure that tougher policies against China are also implemented.

The US at the very minimum hopes to divide European countries as many are still unwilling to provoke China due to trade relations. In the context of the US ignoring all international communication norms and continuing its threats of sanctions against China, Beijing unlikely views this as just renewed verbal attacks.

China is using various channels to convey to its European partners its views on the crisis in Ukraine, as well as on efforts to help the conflicting parties resolve the war peacefully. It is recalled that Beijing sent a diplomatic mission led by Huo Yuzhen, China’s special representative for the China-Central and Eastern Europe Investment Cooperation Fund (CEEC). On April 25, the delegation began its European tour in the Czech Republic, with visits to Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and Estonia also included.

The visit to the Czech Republic is significant since the country will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from July 1 to December 31. In this way, perhaps the comments by Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Tlapa were too hasty when he made de facto statements on behalf of EU members. At a meeting with the Chinese delegation in Prague, he warned that China’s cooperation with Russia could damage its relations with the EU.

Clearly, the Czech diplomat’s desire to please and appease the US overshadowed his own obligation to follow rudimentary political submissions, or perhaps the EU has amended this principle like many other ethical and legal norms due to the crisis in Ukraine?

Although EU officials concede China is unlikely to enforce the broad sanctions imposed on Moscow by a minority of the world’s recognized UN member states, this has not deterred their efforts to lambast and shame countries for their position. Brussels falsely hoped that Beijing could influence Moscow to stop its demilitarization of Ukraine, but hopes were quickly dispelled at an EU-China virtual summit on April 1 that left Western leaders frustrated and angry that they are international pariahs on the Ukraine issue.

A joint EU-US statement following Sherman’s talks in Brussels vowed to push Chinese leaders on issues such as the inadmissibility of sanctions circumvention, and “reaffirmed that such support would have consequences for our respective relationships with China”.

However, Sherman and EU foreign service chief Stefano Sannino avoided answering a journalist’s question on what potential repercussions could be for China. This suggests that the West actually does not have a clear idea on how and why they could punish China for its relationship with Russia and instead it hopes that threats of sanctions could deter their cooperation.

This of course is extremely naïve as sanctions have never made state leaderships of Middle Powers, like North Korea and Iran, collapse or capitulate. Given this fact, there is little prospect that sanctions will achieve the West’s hopes against Great Powers like Russia and China, especially as only just days before the US-EU forum, Chinese vice foreign minister Le Yucheng assured Russian ambassador Andrey Denisov of Beijing’s aim to “deepen bilateral comprehensive strategic coordination”.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Iran and China agree to counter ‘unilateralism’

Samizdat | April 27, 2022

Iran sees its relations with China as part of an effort by like-minded powers to confront US unilateralism and create stability and order, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told the visiting Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Wednesday.

Raisi said that the successful implementation of the 25-year strategic cooperation agreement between China and Iran, signed in 2021, was a priority for Tehran, according to the state media.

“Confronting unilateralism and creating stability and order is possible through the cooperation of independent and like-minded powers,” Raisi was quoted as saying by the IRNA news agency. He added that the current “regional and global developments show more than ever the value of Iran-China strategic cooperation.”

Wei said his visit was aimed at “improving the strategic defense cooperation” between Tehran and Beijing, which would have a “remarkable” impact on fighting terrorism and defusing unilateralism, “particularly in the current critical and tense situation.”

Wei also met with Iranian Defense Minister General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani and reportedly invited him to visit China. In their meeting, Ashtiani stressed “the need to counter American hegemony in the world by strengthening multilateralism,” according to a statement by the Iranian Defense Ministry.

Ashtiani also criticized the US military presence in the Middle East and elsewhere, saying that “wherever the US has had military presence, it has created waves of insecurity, instability, rifts, pessimism, war, destruction and displacement,” according to IRNA.

Major General Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, also met with the Chinese visitor, and offered some details on the shape of their cooperation going forward.

“We agreed to expand bilateral cooperation in joint military drills, exchange of strategies, training issues and other common fields between the two countries’ armed forces so that we can provide better security for the two countries,” Bagheri told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday.

The 2021 strategic cooperation treaty has paved the way to military cooperation between Iran and China, but also a variety of economic activities ranging from oil trade to transportation and agriculture.

Iran has been under unilateral US sanctions since 2018, when the Trump administration reneged on the 2015 nuclear deal. China is one of the signatories of the original pact, along with the UK, France, Germany, and Russia. The current US government has said it wants to restore the agreement, but the talks have gone nowhere due to Washington’s refusal to lift the sanctions against Tehran.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

Political West mulls reshaping UN and what’s left of international law

By Drago Bosnic | April 27, 2022

In order to understand the prelude to World War 2, one cannot ignore the failures of the long-defunct League of Nations, which was a UN-like structure aimed at being a forum of countries resolving disputes through dialogue rather than war. Although just another noble idea before World War 1, in the immediate aftermath of the sheer death and destruction resulting from that conflict, it became an urgent necessity. The League of Nations was supposed to make sure nothing of sorts ever happened again.

Sadly, as we all know, it failed miserably, with an even worse conflict erupting less than 20 years after the Paris Peace Conference was completed. Now, nearly 80 years since the horrors of WW2, we have reached a hauntingly similar point as we realize the UN didn’t just inherit the League of Nations flag, but also many of the same faults which ultimately led the world into yet another disaster of global proportions, one which resonates to this very day.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is the pillar of the UN and its veto power mechanism serves as a balancing tool which takes into account the interests of world powers and thus provides the UN with relevance which no other international organization or forum of sovereign nations in known history ever had. Currently, the five permanent members of UNSC (China, France, Russia, the UK and the US) can veto any resolution put forth by the body. The council’s other 10 rotating members do not have such powers.

This veto power has especially been a source of frustration for the United States, NATO and the EU. Due to their dominance in the UN General Assembly (UNGA), where there is a swarm of Western client states and statelets, many of which were created through deliberate and oftentimes forceful disintegration of larger and more sovereign nations (for instance, Yugoslavia was split into 6 states and one illegal state-like entity), the political West wants this UN body to be more prominent than the UN Security Council.

By pushing the UN General Assembly to the forefront of decision making, the West could then simply force these countless vassal states and statelets to vote in a way which would be beneficial to the US, EU or NATO and give these decisions a sort of “international community” touch which the political West needs in order to build what they see as a much-needed facade of “international legitimacy”.

Because of this, Western political elites and the mainstream media often try to portray the UNGA as a “more democratic” body than the UNSC. How truly democratic is up for debate, given the sheer amount of US pressure and arm-twisting used to coerce countries into voting not just in line with Western interests, but oftentimes at the expense of their own. And in terms of population distribution, we see that these states and statelets, despite oftentimes being the majority or close to a majority in the UNGA, actually represent less than 20 or even 15 percent of the world’s population. This also explains the Western obsession with forceful fragmentation of larger nations into smaller ones, echoing the ancient Roman policy of divide et impera.

To meet this goal, the UNGA is now considering introducing a provision that would require permanent members of the UN Security Council to justify their use of veto powers. It was tabled by Liechtenstein in mid-April and presented at a closed-door discussion panel last Tuesday. The discussion supposedly “turned out to be quite positive” and the initiative “received additional co-sponsors”, the mission of the microstate to the UN said after the meeting.

“We had a strong turnout and positive engagement on the Veto Initiative in open format this afternoon. We will continue our work to get the strongest possible political support for our text which now has 57 cosponsors,” it stated.

If adopted, the initiative would mandate convening the UNGA within 10 days after a permanent member of the UNSC uses their veto power. At the meeting, the state would have to justify its decision to use the veto. According to Liechtenstein, adopting the provision would “empower the General Assembly and strengthen multilateralism.”

Quite unsurprisingly, so far, the initiative has been openly supported only by one permanent member of the UNSC – the United States. Washington co-sponsored the provision, openly acknowledging the drive is aimed at Moscow and its use of the veto power to block a resolution on the ongoing Russian special military operation in Ukraine. Announcing the co-sponsorship, the US envoy to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Moscow of “misusing” its veto powers.

“We are particularly concerned by Russia’s shameful pattern of abusing its veto privilege over the past two decades,” she stated, adding that, in the latest alleged abuse, Moscow had used the veto power to “protect President Putin from condemnation over his unprovoked and unjust war of choice against Ukraine.”

Of course, it would require an entirely separate analysis to dissect US envoy’s statements, which are filled with “liberal interpretation” of facts. But the statement does confirm the assertion that the political West, and the US in particular, are trying to reshape the UN to their liking, which would result in sidelining US competitors. In doing so, the US might be successful in turning the UN into another footnote of its belligerent foreign policy and even use it to justify sanctions and wars of aggression anywhere in the world.

However, even though this may seem like a victory to the aggressive planners in Washington DC, it may spell a disaster for world peace. By sidelining countries like Russia, China or even India, Brazil, South Africa and many others in the foreseeable future, the US is incentivizing these countries to ignore or even leave the UN, which would bring about the de facto end of international law.

At best, it would result in the creation of another UN-style organization led by those same sidelined countries, bringing about a deeply divided world where there would be at least two blocks – the political West (plus its vassals) and the rest of the world composed of sovereign nations. The last time such a division happened, the world suffered up to 80,000,000 dead in just 6 years.

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

April 27, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

China calls out US war crimes

Samizdat | April 26, 2022

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin has lashed out at the EU and US for criticizing its domestic and foreign policies. Wang singled out the US, accusing Washington of war crimes in the Middle East, economic coercion, betraying its allies and spreading disinformation.

“The US purports to maintain the centrality of the UN Charter, but it is clear to anyone that the US is doing quite the opposite,” Wang told reporters at a press conference on Monday. Citing the US’ military interventions in the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, Wang stated that Washington “brushed the UN aside and waged wars on sovereign states in wanton interference.”

“The US claims to respect human rights, but the wars of aggression launched by the US and its allies … killed over 300,000 civilians and made over 26 million people refugees,” he continued. “Yet, no one is held accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The US even announced sanctions on the International Criminal Court who would investigate the war crimes of the US military.”

In addition to sanctioning a number of top International Criminal Court officials in 2020, the US maintains the ‘Hague Invasion Act’, giving its military permission to invade the Netherlands to free any American held at the court.

Wang then accused the US of using its economic might to coerce countries “whether they are big or small, faraway or nearby, friend or foe,” citing five decades of US sanctions on Cuba and four decades of such measures on Iran.

“When it comes to stabbing its allies such as the EU and Japan in the back, the US has never hesitated, as we have seen repeatedly,” he added, likely referring foremost to the US’ recent decision to undermine a nuclear submarine deal between France and Australia to further its ‘AUKUS’ alliance with the UK and Australia. China has repeatedly condemned this alliance as an American effort to build an “Asia-Pacific version of NATO.”

“Facts have proven that the US is the biggest spreader of disinformation, culprit of coercive diplomacy and saboteur of world peace and stability,” Wang declared. “From the US-EU dialogue to the AUKUS trilateral security partnership, the Quad and the Five Eyes Alliance, the US is using democracy, human rights, rules and order as a pretext to cover up its shady activities of creating division [and] stoking confrontation.”

Wang’s accusations, while incendiary, were not made out of the blue. Last week, US and EU officials held their third ‘Dialogue on China’, after which they issued a joint press release accusing Beijing of “repeated information manipulation” regarding the conflict in Ukraine, “recent incidents of economic coercion,” and alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur people in Xinjiang, all of which China denies.

The statement also called on China to peacefully resolve its disputes with Taiwan in accordance with the UN charter, and not to circumvent the US and EU sanctions on Russia. That’s despite the fact that those restrictions were imposed by the West unilaterally and have nothing to do with UN mechanisms put in place for such measures, leading Moscow to brand the move “illegal.”

April 26, 2022 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 8 Comments

US and Australia spreading fake news – Beijing

Samizdat | April 25, 2022

Beijing has dismissed as “fake news” allegations made earlier by Canberra and Washington that China is intending to set up a military base in the Solomon Islands.

At a press conference on Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin, insisted that the “so-called Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands is completely fake news made up by a few people with ulterior motives.” The diplomat also pointed out that cooperation between the two nations was “based on the principles of mutual equality, mutual benefit and win-win results.”

Wenbin called out Washington’s hypocrisy, saying that the US was among the loudest voices expressing concern over China’s alleged plans to set up a base in Oceania, while itself having “nearly 800 military bases in more than 80 countries.”

The Chinese official went on to remind Washington that the Solomon Islands is an “independent sovereign country, not the ‘backyard’ of the United States and Australia.”

Last Tuesday, China announced that State Councilor Wang Yi and Solomon Islands Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele had signed a security pact between the two nations.

The US was quick to express concern. The White House National Security Council’s spokesperson claimed that the signing followed a “pattern of China offering shadowy, vague deals with little regional consultation in fishing, resource management, development assistance and now security practices.”

Several days later, the White House revealed that the American delegation to the Solomon Islands had warned the nation’s leadership that the US would “respond accordingly” should Chinese military installations appear in the country.

Canberra has also made it clear that such a military base, which would be some 2,000km (1,200 miles) from Australia’s shores, would represent a “red line.”

Meanwhile, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare insisted that the deal was necessary to beef up security and was “guided by our national interests.” He stated last week that the agreement does not allow China to set up a military base on the islands.

April 25, 2022 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 3 Comments