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US Moves Forward With Arms Sales To Taiwan

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 13 October 2020

Taipei, Taiwan. Photo by Timo Volz

Three separate weapons deals to be pushed forward.

Security // BLUF: The White House will be moving forward with three separate arms deals with Taiwan, according to Reuters sources.

The deals will reportedly be for the self-propelled rocket platform known as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long range air-to-ground missiles, and sensor pods for the F-16 fighter jet.

The arms deals come as China's increasingly aggressive posturing toward Taiwan has seen the US boost its involvement with and recognition of Taiwan on the international stage, along with its presence in the Taiwan Strait.

(See Point 1 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 13 October 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.

1. UNITED STATES, TAIWAN - Security: White House moves forward on three arms sales to Taiwan

FYSA: The White House is moving forward with three sales of advanced weaponry to Taiwan, sending in recent days a notification of the deals to Congress for approval, three sources familiar with the situation said on Monday. The move in the run-up to the Nov. 3 U.S. election is likely to anger China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province which it has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary. In September, Reuters reported that as many as seven major weapons systems were making their way through the U.S. export process as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China. Leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees were notified that three of the planned weapons sales had been approved by the U.S. State Department which oversees Foreign Military Sales, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The informal notifications were for a truck-based rocket launcher made by Lockheed Martin Corp called a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), long-range air-to-ground missiles made by Boeing Co called SLAM-ER, and external sensor pods for F-16 jets that allow the real-time transmission of imagery and data from the aircraft back to ground stations. Notifications for the sale of other weapons systems, including large, sophisticated aerial drones, land-based Harpoon anti-ship missiles and underwater mines, to deter amphibious landings, have yet to reach Capitol Hill, but these were expected soon, the sources said. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

FYSA: Waving flags from cars and honking horns, supporters of Spain’s far-right Vox party protested on Monday against a partial lockdown imposed on Madrid to contain one of Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreaks. “Viva España! Government resign!”, cried hundreds of supporters as they filled Madrid’s main thoroughfare and the party staged smaller demonstrations in Barcelona and Seville. Sunday’s protest escalated a standoff between Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and the conservative-led Madrid regional government, on which Vox holds 12 of 132 seats, and which argues that the government’s curbs are illegal and excessive and will spell disaster for the local economy. “I have come to protest because I am fed up with the management of the pandemic, not only with health but with the economy. I am not a Vox supporter, but we have to protest somehow,” said Lola Abad, 55, an administrator who attended the Madrid demonstration. King Felipe VI, accompanied by members of the government, marked the National Day public holiday on Monday in Madrid with only 520 soldiers instead of the normal parade of several thousand troops because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Today is National Day and they will not let us go and celebrate, especially not in Madrid because of the state of alarm but I still don’t know what the criteria they decreed it,” said Manuel Sanchez, 46, a lawyer. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

FYSA: Turkey has dispatched a ship to disputed Eastern Mediterranean waters for a new research mission, prompting anger from Greece. Turkey’s move on Monday to carry out a seismic survey south of the Greek island Kastellorizo is a major escalation of tensions, threatening peace and security in the area, Greece’s foreign ministry said. Late on Sunday, Turkey’s navy issued an advisory, saying the Oruc Reis ship would conduct a seismic survey over the next 10 days. The state-run Anadolu news agency said Oruc Reis left the port of Antalya on Monday to resume its survey of hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Energy Minister Fatih Donmez tweeted the Oruc Reis raised its anchor to “take the X-ray” of the Mediterranean seabed, after the completion of maintenance work. Turkey announced last month that it was pulling the Oruc Reis to shore for maintenance and resupply, saying the move would give “diplomacy a chance”. An international maritime safety advisory, or Navtex, said the exploration would last until October 22. “The new Turkish NAVTEX on surveys south of Kastellorizo within the Greek continental shelf, at a distance of just 6.5 nautical miles from Greek shores, is a major escalation,” Greece’s foreign ministry said. Monday’s move showed Ankara was “unreliable” and “does not really truly want a dialogue”, the statement said, as it came days after Turkey committed to proposing a date for exploratory talks at a meeting between Greek and Turkish foreign ministers. (Al Jazeera. See link in heading for further reading)

FYSA: Security forces in Belarus detained dozens of protesters on Sunday and used force, including water cannon and batons, to break up crowds demanding a new presidential election, TV footage showed. Footage published by local news outlets showed police officers wearing black balaclavas dragging protesters into unmarked black vans and beating protesters with their batons at a rally that drew thousands onto the streets of the capital Minsk. One sequence showed a police van unleashing a powerful jet of water from a cannon into crowds, visibly pushing them back. Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, has been rocked by street protests and strikes since authorities announced that veteran leader Alexander Lukashenko had won an 9 August vote by a landslide. People have since taken to the streets every week to demand that Lukashenko step down and allow for a new election to be held. Lukashenko, a former collective farm manager who has been in power since 1994, denies his win was the result of cheating. Security forces have detained more than 13,000 people during a post-election crackdown, some of whom have been later freed. Lukashenko's key political opponents are either in jail or have fled abroad. Sunday's violence followed a meeting Lukashenko held on Saturday in a Minsk jail with detained opposition leaders, an unusual event that prompted some opposition activists to believe he was preparing to make concessions. In a rare concession, two people who had taken part in the meeting with Lukashenko -- businessman Yuri Voskresensky and Dmitry Rabtsevich, director of the Minsk office of PandaDoc software maker -- were released late on Sunday, Belarus state television reported. The United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada have imposed sanctions against a string of senior officials in Belarus accused of fraud and human rights abuses in the wake of the presidential election. Opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who is now based in Lithuania, has called for new elections and for all political prisoners to be freed. (RNZ. See link in heading for further reading)

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