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US Pushes Arms Sales Surge To Taiwan

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 17 September 2020

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. military forces fire a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rocket during the annual Philippines-US live fire amphibious landing exercise (PHIBLEX) at Crow Valley in Capas, Tarlac province, north of Manila, Philippines October 10, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco/File Photo

China unimpressed by development.

Security // BLUF: The US is reportedly planning to sell at least seven major weapons systems to Taiwan, including cruise missiles and drones.

Taiwan's reelection of President Tsai Ing-wen has seen the strengthening of Taiwan's defences as a top priority.

The Trump Administration's position on China has been particularly aggressive in 2020, as China's crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong through the implementing of new security laws has brought Taiwan firmly into Beijing's sights; with Beijing considering Taiwan a 'wayward territory' that needs to be reunified with China.

(See Point 1 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 17 September 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: U.S. pushes arms sales surge to Taiwan, needling China - sources

FYSA: The United States plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems, including mines, cruise missiles and drones to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said, as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which U.S. military sales to the island were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. But the Trump administration has become more aggressive with China in 2020 and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, a lingering trade war and disputes about the spread of the novel coronavirus. At the same time Taiwan's desire to buy weapons increased after President Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected here in January and has made strengthening Taiwan's defenses a top priority. Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue. Beijing says it is a Chinese province, and has denounced the Trump administration’s support for the island. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

2. SOUTH AFRICA - Economic (Travel): SA’s borders open on 1 October. Here’s what we know about the rules for tourists.

FYSA: South Africans will be able to go on holidays abroad and inbound tourists will be welcome again from 1 October, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday night. South African missions abroad will be opening for visa applications, he said. “We are ready to open our doors again to the world and invite travellers to enjoy our mountains, our beaches, our vibrant cities, and our wildlife game parks in safety and confidence.” But there will be some caveats. Only three airports will be open to foreign travellers: Johannesburg's OR Tambo, Cape Town International, and King Shaka outside Durban. Overland travellers will be restricted to one of the few border posts that remained open during lockdown. Travel to and from some countries may be restricted, Ramaphosa said, "based on the latest scientific data we can get on those countries". He did not provide details of the metrics South Africa may use for such red-listing. Travellers will have to present, on arrival, the result of a negative coronavirus test less than 72 hours old. If they can not do so, they "will be required to remain in mandatory quarantine at their own cost". Everyone arriving will be screened, and those who show any symptoms of Covid-19 will also be required to stay in quarantine until they test negative for the virus again. Travellers "will be asked" to install the South African government contact alert app, Ramaphosa said. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

3. TURKEY - Security (Health): Turkey begins Phase 3 trials of Chinese coronavirus vaccine

FYSA: Turkey began final Phase 3 trials of an experimental Chinese coronavirus vaccine Wednesday, Turkish media reported. The vaccine will be administered to between 1,200-1,300 health workers over 10 days, with a second dose given 14 days after the first, broadcasters CNN Türk and Habertürk said. The results of the trial will be sent to the World Health Organization (WHO). The vaccine candidate will later be administered to volunteers with chronic diseases, with the aim of vaccinating 13,000 people, the broadcasters said. The Health Ministry did not comment on the reports. Demirören News Agency (DHA) reported that the first volunteers, a group of health care workers, were vaccinated with an inoculation developed by Sinovac at Hacettepe University Faculty of Medicine. Sinovac executive Helen Yang and Health Ministry Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board member professor Serhat Ünal were among those who observed the vaccination work. Ünal said it was "a historic moment." (Daily Sabah. See link in heading for further reading)

4. RUSSIA, BELARUS - Security, Political: Russia accuses U.S. of promoting revolution in Belarus, toughens stance

FYSA: Russia on Wednesday accused Washington of trying to foment a revolution in Belarus, where it sent its defence minister for talks on military ties, in a sign that Moscow’s support for embattled Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko was hardening. Mass protests since an Aug. 9 election marred by vote-rigging allegations have posed the biggest threat yet to Lukashenko, and the Kremlin’s backing has become vital for his chances of extending his 26-year rule. The former Soviet state farm boss travelled to Russia on Monday for his first talks with President Vladimir Putin since the crisis began, coming away with a $1.5 billion loan to prop up his Soviet-style command economy. On Wednesday, Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s SVR Foreign Intelligence Service, accused Washington of working behind the scenes to overthrow Lukashenko in a coup, some of Moscow’s strongest rhetoric over the crisis yet. “Essentially we are talking about a poorly disguised attempt to organise another ‘colour revolution’ and an anti-constitutional coup, the goals and objectives of which have nothing to do with the interests of Belarusian citizens,” he was quoted by RIA news agency as saying.(Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

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