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Open newsletter – february 21, 2022

from: Al Jazeera, Asia Times, Corriere della Sera, East Asia Forum, Euractiv, Global Times, Reuters, RFE RL, RUSI, TASS, The Interpreter, The Strategist 

AFGHANISTAN

The United Nations children’s agency says it will pay Afghan teachers a monthly stipend for at least two months. Salaries have been unpaid for months as the country plunged into economic crisis due to sanctions imposed by some Western governments on the Taliban administration. Al Jazeera: UNICEF to pay stipend to Afghan teachers as ’emergency support’

AUSTRALIA

In the mass of commentary on the Morrison government’s feverish attempts to paint Labor as “weak” on national security and not to be trusted with China policy, one word has been prominent: bipartisanship. The pithy Oxford Languages’ definition of bipartisanship is “agreement or cooperation between two political parties that usually oppose each other’s policies”. The Interpreter, Richard Maude: Is bipartisanship on national security a good thing?

Extending beyond Australia’s 30,000 kilometres of coastline are millions of hectares of ‘sea country’, which encompasses the flora and fauna, beliefs and cultural practices of the many Indigenous groups that care for these areas. The Australian coastline has receded over the past 35,000 years, with an estimated two million hectares inundated as climate systems changed. This land, though now submerged, still has significant cultural connections for many traditional custodians. The Strategist, Mibu Fischer: Sea country, climate change and Indigenous knowledge

Big international issues shape a nation’s domestic equations. And so the Australian election to be held by 21 May will be shaped by pandemic, decarbonisation and geopolitical rivalry. The Strategist, Graeme Dobell: Oz election 2022: Covid, climate and China

AUSTRALIA – CHINA

Australia’s accusation that a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy flotilla pointed a laser at an Australian patrol aircraft is false, and it was the Australian aircraft that flew close to the Chinese vessels and provocatively dropped sonobuoys, Chinese authorities said on Monday. Global Times: Australia’s claim about PLA vessel’s laser deployment false: Chinese authorities

Australia on Saturday accused a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy flotilla of aiming at laser at an Australian patrol aircraft, calling the move “unsafe,” but this only exposes the Australian aircraft’s unsafe, provocative close-in reconnaissance on the Chinese ships in the first place, and it is an attempt to throw mud at China when the PLA has been sending assistance to other countries in the region like Tonga and the Solomon Islands, helping them overcome disaster and epidemic, experts said on Sunday. Global TimesLiu Xuanzun and Guo Yuandan: Australia’s accusation of PLA vessel’s laser deployment ‘false mud-throwing at China’

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a Chinese naval vessel that pointed a laser at an Australian defence plane was potentially visible from Australia’s mainland, as Canberra demands a “full investigation” by Beijing. Reuters: Australia wants ‘full investigation’ into China laser incident – Morrison

CHINA

China’s central bank said on Monday that it will postpone for technical reasons the implementation of a recent regulation that mandate financial institutions to verify clients’ identity and manage transaction records. Global Times: China’s central bank postpones regulation on cash withdrawals, deposits for ‘technical reasons’

Beijing’s sub-center in Tongzhou district has earmarked 426 projects with total fixed-asset investment of 100 billion yuan ($15.81 billion), administrators of the sub-center announced on Monday, amid a nationwide infrastructure spending drive. Global Times, Chu Daye: Beijing sub-center earmarks $15.8b in projects amid nation’s infrastructure drive

In a fresh move to boost the cross-border e-commerce sector, which has bucked the global trend amid the raging pandemic, Chinese authorities have further optimized the cross-border e-commerce retail import list to add more goods, enriching the options in the domestic market to meet rising consumer demand. Global Times: China rolls out favorable measures for cross-border e-commerce

The Z-20, China’s latest domestically developed tactical utility helicopter, is now in service with the Chinese People’s Armed Police (PAP) Force, together with the larger, plateau-operable Z-8G transport helicopter, and this will enhance the mobility and flexibility of the armed police in tasks including anti-terrorist, disaster relief and emergency rescue missions, analysts said on Monday. Global Times, Liu Xuanzun: China’s Z-20 helicopter enters armed police service, offers mobility in anti-terrorist missions

On January 16, People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Governor Yi Gang voiced optimism that Asia’s biggest economy can return to business as usual in 2022. Yet two days later, his boss – Xi Jinping – reminded Yi how hard that might be. Last Friday, President Xi signaled that the brutal US$1.5 trillion sell-off in tech stocks his industry crackdowns triggered isn’t over. Xi’s regulators spooked investors with new guidelines for food-delivery platforms, including industry giant Meituan, to cut fees they charge restaurants. Asia Times, William Pesek: Xi’s relentless tech squeeze crimping growth hopes

Chinese researchers are intensifying railgun trials at a time the US has effectively abandoned the weapon for laser-based alternatives. Asia Times, Gabriel Honrada: China’s railgun tech on a surprising fast track

Chinese tech giants like Tencent and Alibaba are planning to build more data centers in western regions in the country, after the central government launched a project nicknamed “eastern data western calculation” to store and process more digital data in China’s western provinces. China has approved the setting up of hub nodes of the national computing power network in multiple regions including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Chengdu-Chongqing urban agglomeration, North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and Northwest China’s Gansu Province, which marks the official start of the “eastern data western calculation” project, according to a document released by several government departments recently. Global Times, Xie Jun: China moves to boost digital sector growth in less developed provinces

China’s new home prices in January recorded a month-on-month increase for the first time since September 2021, official data showed on Monday, as both the government and the lenders implement measures to boost property sales. Global Times: China’s new home prices rise in January, as efforts to boost housing sales pay off

China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) has started to construct the world’s largest liquefied natural gas or LNG storage tanks in Yancheng Binhai Port Industrial Park in East China’s Jiangsu province. Global Times: CNOOC begins construction of 6 largest LNG storage tanks in the world

South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, a large grain production hub in Southern China, rolled out various measures on Sunday to promote grain production expansion, with a million-yuan bonus being offered by the government. Global Times: South China’s Guangxi offers million-yuan bonus to ramp up grain production

Beijing will include more than a dozen fertility services in a government-backed medical insurance scheme for the Chinese capital, state media reported on Monday, supporting those seeking to have babies with China’s birth rate at a record low. Reuters: To support births, Chinese capital Beijing adds fertility services to insurance coverage

CHINA – EUROPE

Chinese technology giant Huawei – which has been put on the US Entity List – is entering a critical time for returning to Europe as major economies in the EU signal a policy turnaround involving new restrictions on telecom market access, analysts said. Global Times: Huawei may enter a critical time for return to Europe, after major economies signal policy turnaround

CHINA – INDIA

During the 2022 Munich Security Conference (MSC) which concluded on Sunday, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar warned countries of “debt trap” created by Chinese assistance, a false cliché that the US and its close allies often use to discredit China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation between China and its partners. Global Times, Wang Yi: India’s ‘debt trap’ slandering against Chinese BRI aid is laughable

CHINA – PAKISTAN

The recent surfacing of images of the J-10C fighter jets with the marking of the Pakistan Air Force on social media seems to have verified a widely-circulated hearsay that Pakistan ordered advanced J-10C fighter jets from China. Global Times: China-Pakistan defense co-op aids manufacturing progress

CHINA – RCEP

Since the Regional Economic Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP) trade pact came into force at the start of the year, local customs in China have reported fruitful achievements from the implementation of the trade pact, with some saying that exports to Japan appear to be key beneficiaries thanks to preferential duties under the deal. Global Times: Local customs in China report fruitful results after RCEP implementation

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – HAITI

The Dominican government on Sunday began building a wall that will cover almost half of the 392-kilometre (244 miles) border with Haiti, its only land neighbor, to stop irregular migration and the smuggling of goods, weapons and drugs. Reuters: Dominican Republic begins building border wall with Haiti

EUROPE

Three out of four thematic citizens panels of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) ask for a more empowered and accountable EU, allocating resources to implement the ecological transition and guarantee a more reliable spread of information. Euractiv,  Eleonora Vasques: Citizens demand EU accountability on ecological transition and public information

EUROPE – BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed alarm on February 20 over “centrifugal trends” in Bosnia-Herzegovina one day after Bosnian Croat nationalists threatened to scupper upcoming elections and form their own region in the troubled Balkan state. Borrell warned fellow leaders at the Munich Security Conference that the situation was extremely disquieting in the former Yugoslav republic, which is already divided into a Bosniak and Croat federation and a Serb-dominated entity called Republika Srpska. RFE RL: EU’s Borrell Says Bosnia ‘More Worrying Than Ever’ After Croats’ Election Threat

FIRST EUROPEAN MINISTERIAL MEETING ON THE INDO-PACIFIC

France is scheduled to host the first European ministerial meeting on the Indo-Pacific on Tuesday, rolling out the red carpet for foreign ministers of EU member states and some 30 countries in the Indo-Pacific region, as well as representatives of European institutions and the main regional organizations. However, China and the US have not been invited. Global Times: Deng Xiaoci: France to host 1st ministerial meeting on Indo-Pacific, eyes ‘leading role’

GEORGIA

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has launched a new hunger strike to protest the government’s refusing to provide adequate health care for him and the “the way the authorities treat me and our people.”. RFE RL: Saakashvili Launches New Hunger Strike To Protest Health Care

GERMANY – UKRAINE CRISIS

The amassing of Russian troops at the Ukrainian border has jeopardised Germany’s plans to invest in renewable energy production and help a green transition in Ukraine, the German foreign ministry said on Monday (21 February). Euractiv, Nikolaus J. Kurmayer: Germany’s renewable energy investment drive in Ukraine at risk amid tensions

G7 – CLIMATE ACTION – DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

The G7 Summit in June offers an opportunity to provide tangible funding commitments to developing countries in the fight against climate change. If offers fall short, the world faces the risk that rising global inequality will derail international climate efforts. Euractiv, Rainer Quitzow: Climate targets are unachievable without a financial deal for developing countries

HUNGARY

One evening in January, a large group of Hungarians met in a conference room along the upmarket Pall Mall street in central London. More than 200 people sat at round tables, the room decorated with crystal chandeliers and huge, antique paintings. They were there to see Hungary’s joint opposition candidate for prime minister, 49-year-old conservative Mayor Peter Marki-Zay, ahead of Hungary’s April 3 parliamentary elections. RFE RL, Lili Rutai: A Tale Of Two Diasporas: The Battle For Hungarian Voters Abroad

When Hungarians go to the polls in April, liberal democracy will be on the ballot—and not only in Hungary. Former US President Donald Trump is promoting the populist prime minister, Viktor Orban. Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ most-watched on-air personality, has travelled to Budapest to promote Orban’s brand of ethnic nationalism. Nonetheless, Orban is facing his most serious challenge since returning to power in 2010. Project-Syndicate, The Strategist, Kati Marton: Hungary’s freedom election

INDIA

A recent report by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, a telecom sector watchdog, shows a fall in mobile phone users and a marginal decline in teledensity in December 2021. Asia Times, KS Kumar: Reliance Jio subscribers fall amid tariff hikes

The Modi government, which has refused to join any regional trade agreement, seems to have finally realized that it has come to a point where its foreign trade policy must change course, or the country faces the risk of being shut out of global markets. India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Friday signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that is expected to increase bilateral trade to $100 billion over a span of five years. Global Times: India faces tough choice in opening up its market

INDONESIA

This month, the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Justice 2 (AIPJ2) published data on child marriage in Indonesia in collaboration with a number of Indonesian government agencies. On the face of it, this may look like another set of numbers. However the fact it was published at all is quite a feat. The report places in the public domain data that has been known by the individual government agencies but not commonly discussed between them – and certainly not available to civil society and academia in Indonesia. The Interpreter, Cate Sumner: Courting change for Indonesia’s invisible brides

IRAN

An Iranian newspaper reported on February 20 that teachers had demonstrated this weekend in more than 100 cities to protest delays in salary and pension reforms. RFE RL: Reformist Paper In Iran Cites Teacher Protests In More Than 100 Cities

IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS

Israel will address its misgivings about an emerging new Iran nuclear deal in future bilateral arrangements with the United States, an Israeli official said on Monday. Reuters: Israeli minister sees bilateral talks with U.S. to “complement” an Iran nuclear deal

Talks in Vienna on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers have made “significant progress”, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said on Monday. Reuters: Iran says ‘significant progress’ made in Vienna nuclear talks

IRAN – QATAR

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has arrived in Qatar to hold high-level talks with Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and to participate in the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF). Raisi is is accompanied by several ministers and is expected to sign several agreements aimed at boosting bilateral ties during his two-day visit. Al Jazeera, Maziar Motamedi: Iran, Qatar to sign major agreements on Raisi’s Doha visit

KAZAKHSTAN

Authorities in Kazakhstan have arrested a former defense minister who was dismissed last month amid a consolidation of power by President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev following deadly unrest that swept the country. RFE RL: Kazakh Authorities Arrest Ex-Defense Minister

MYANMAR

The World Court is to hear arguments on Monday in a case brought against Myanmar demanding that the country halt alleged acts of genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority. Reuters and World Court to open jurisdiction hearings in Myanmar genocide case

Myanmar’s military government has criticised calls for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ special envoy to the conflict-torn country to meet bodies that oppose last year’s coup, which the junta has declared as “terrorist” groups. Reuters: Myanmar junta urges ASEAN envoy not to engage with ‘terrorist’ groups

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) begins hearings on Monday over Myanmar’s preliminary objections to a genocide case brought over the military’s brutal 2017 crackdown on the mostly Muslim Rohingya. The proceedings have been given added urgency and complicated by the coup that took place in Myanmar a little more than a year ago. The case was filed by The Gambia, a small West African country, with the backing of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) after more than 700,000 Rohingya fled into neighbouring Bangladesh amid reports the Myanmar military burned entire villages and carried out “large-scale” killings, gang rape and other abuses. Al Jazeera: ‘Important opportunity’: Myanmar Rohingya genocide case to resume

PAKISTAN – RUSSIA

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will fly to Moscow this week to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Islamabad confirmed on Monday – the first such trip by a Pakistani leader in two decades. Reuters: Pakistani prime minister to fly to Moscow to meet Putin this week

PANDEMIC

The pandemic is far from over. Some 40 per cent of the world’s population is yet to receive a single shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. More virulent or contagious strains are likely to emerge. The virus doesn’t recognise borders. East Asia ForumVaccinating the world still needs coordination and cooperation that’s in short supply

QATAR

Major natural gas exporting nations on Sunday (20 February) began meetings in Doha to discuss how to meet skyrocketing world demand as tensions surrounding Ukraine stoke fears in Europe about gas supplies from Russia. Euractiv: Ukraine showdown casts shadow over Qatar gas summit

RUSSIA

The trial of jailed Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny has resumed inside a penal colony on new charges of embezzlement — which he calls politically motivated — that could see as many as 10 more years tacked on to his prison time. RFE RL: Jailed Kremlin Critic Navalny’s New Trial Resumes

A group of the Russian Pacific, Northern and Black Sea Fleets supported by Il-38 anti-submarine warfare naval aircraft practiced hunting down foreign submarines in the Mediterranean Sea, the press office of Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Monday. TASS: Russian naval ships hunt down enemy submarines in Mediterranean drills

The latest Kornet-D1 air-droppable self-propelled anti-tank missile system based on the chassis of the BMD-4M airborne infantry fighting vehicle intended for Russia’s Airborne Force has entered the final stage of firing tests, the press office of the Rostec state tech corporation reported on Monday. TASS: Russia’s new Kornet-D1 air-droppable anti-tank missile system at final stage of trials

RUSSIA – UKRAINE – SECURITY

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday he would decide within hours on a request by two regions of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists to be recognised as independent – a move that could give Moscow a reason to openly send troops. Reuters, and : Putin to decide whether to recognise breakaway regions of Ukraine

The chances of an early meeting of U.S. President Joe Biden and Russia’s Vladimir Putin were thrown into doubt after the Kremlin said talk of such a summit was “premature” and that nothing “concrete” had been set. RFE RL: Kremlin Appears To Play Down Hopes For Summit As Tensions Over Ukraine Remain High

The European Union has told Ukraine it is not ready to slap sanctions on Moscow at this time, but it did back plans for financial assistance to the country struggling under the threat of attack from Russia. RFE RL: EU Tells Kyiv That Time Is Not Right Yet For Sanctions On Russia

As diplomatic efforts to defuse tensions around Ukrainian continue, satellite images show new field deployments of armoured equipment and troops from Russian garrisons in what an analyst says could point to an increase in military readiness. US company Maxar Technologies, which has been monitoring Russia’s military build-up along the border with Ukraine for weeks, has released new images suggesting several large movements of battle groups around the military garrison at Soloti, Russia, as of February 13. Al Jazeera: Satellite images show new military movements by Russia

The European Union must start imposing some sanctions on Russia now to show it is serious about wanting to prevent a war in Ukraine, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said as he arrived in Brussels to meet the bloc’s foreign ministers. Reuters and : Slap sanctions on Russia now, Ukraine tells the EU

U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed in principle to a summit over Ukraine, the French leader said on Monday, offering a possible path out of one of the most dangerous European crises in decades. Reuters: Biden agrees in principle to Ukraine summit with Putin

The Ukrainian Armed Forces’ shelling has killed a civilian on the outskirts of the city of Donetsk in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the DPR People’s Militia said in a statement on Monday, adding that a militia member had been killed in a shelling attack and another one suffered wounds. TASS: Ukrainian military’s shelling kills civilian, militia member

Head of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) Leonid Pasechnilk has signed a decree on the voluntary mobilization of men aged over 55. TASS: LPR head signs decree on voluntary mobilization of men aged over 55

Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Emmanuel Macron of France held another telephone conversation regarding Ukraine in the early hours of Monday morning, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. TASS: Putin, Macron continued to discuss Ukraine in their second call in 24 hours, says Kremlin

Il governo americano ha deciso di contrastare punto su punto la propaganda putiniana, ma anche di scrivere la sceneggiatura della crisi. La Casa Bianca diffonde i rapporti dell’intelligence che dovrebbero restare riservati: quali sono le controindicazioni? Corriere della Sera, Giuseppe Sarcina: Biden, Putin e la guerra dell’informazione sull’Ucraina

No one wants Ukrainistan, least of all Vladimir Putin. Its GDP of $98 billion (in constant 2015 US dollars), down 43% since 1989, falls in between Ethiopia and Angola on the World Bank tables. Its population has shrunk to just 35 million according to the country’s National Academy of Science from 52 million in 1989, rather than the 48 million reported in the official census, because nearly half of the working-age population has left. Its corruption ranking stands at 112 out of 116 countries surveyed by Transparency International. Asia Times, David P. Goldman: Why Russia won’t invade Ukrainistan

Kiev is missing a chance not only to avoid war but also to avoid the loss of its rogue pro-Russian territories. Asian Times, Stephen Bryen: War looms as US and Kiev ignore Minsk II Protocols

America’s disordered projection toward the future is more promising than a restoration of spheres of influence. Asia Times, Francesco Sisci: Losing Putin?

Commenting on Russia’s retaliatory measures, US Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan said that the expulsions of American diplomats by the Russian side greatly complicate the work of the American diplomatic mission in Moscow. TASS: US embassy in Russia will find it difficult to work if expulsions continue

US President Joe Biden is ready to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, if an invasion of Ukraine hasn’t happened, according to a statement by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, released on Sunday. TASS: Biden ready to meet with Putin, if “invasion” of Ukraine hasn’t happened

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida views his recent telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of diplomatic efforts aimed at easing tensions over Ukraine, as Kishida himself said, addressing Japan’s parliament on Monday. TASS: Japanese PM views phone call with Putin as part of efforts to ease tensions over Ukraine

The policy of Western countries that prefer to ignore the shelling of Donbass by Ukrainian troops may push Kiev to a full-scale offensive, Dmitry Polyansky, First Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN said on Sunday. TASS: West’s “blind eye” policy towards shelling in Donbass can provoke Kiev attack

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova asked the U.S. embassy in Russia, if they have transferred the data about allegedly existing threats of terrorist attacks in public places in Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as along the Russian-Ukrainian border to their Russian colleagues. TASS: MFA comments on US embassy’s warning about “terrorist attack threats” in Russia

Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine said on Monday two civilians were killed in shelling by the Kyiv government forces, Russia’s RIA news agency reported. Reuters: Russian-backed Ukraine rebels say two civilians killed in shelling by Kyiv forces -RIA

President Joe Biden’s administration has prepared an initial package of sanctions against Russia that includes barring U.S. financial institutions from processing transactions for major Russian banks, three people familiar with the matter said. Reuters and : U.S. plans to cut ties with targeted Russian banks if Ukraine is invaded – sources

United States President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed in principle to a summit over the Ukraine crisis, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron said, so long as Moscow does not invade Ukraine. In a statement released early on Monday, the Elysee Palace said Macron had pitched both leaders on a summit about “security and strategic stability in Europe”. Al Jazeera: Biden, Putin agree ‘in principle’ to summit amid Ukraine tensions

Whatever steps Vladimir Putin takes over coming days will be deeply consequential for the security of both Russia and Europe. What does Putin want? The Interpreter, Ian Hill: Putin’s choice

SOUTH KOREA – CHINA

Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming said in an interview with the media he believed the recent negative sentiment among the Chinese and South Korean public is temporary and hoped that all sectors in the two countries will make joint efforts to bring the bilateral friendship back to the right track as soon as possible. Global Times: Recent Chinese-S.Korean negative sentiment is temporary as friendly cooperation remains mainstream: Chinese envoy

TAIWAN

Countries go to war for many reasons – but to grab semiconductor plants would be a first. Taiwan is a global hub of semiconductor manufacturing. Some analysts argue a principal reason the People’s Republic of China (PRC) would invade Taiwan would be to seize Taiwan’s semiconductor industry. Asia Times, Grant Newsham: Taiwan: a tasty target – chips or no chips

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who riled China while in office with his criticism of it and attacks on its ruling Communist Party, will visit Taiwan next week and meet President Tsai Ing-wen, the Taiwan government said on Monday. Reuters: Mike Pompeo, who riled China while in office, to visit Taiwan

TECHNOLOGY

Quantum computers as conceived are radically different from the familiar digital machines in use today. They operate by leveraging  unique phenomena in quantum physics of materials (based on the behavior of sub-atomic particles) to enable computations to be performed that can enable the rapid solution of certain problems in minutes that could take years with conventional high-performance computers. Asia Times, Henry Kressel: The threat of quantum computing to security infrastructure

TURKEY

A veteran Turkish political leader who has struggled for years to have President Tayyip Erdogan voted out of office says it is “very clear” that his dream is drawing nearer, even as doubts remain about whether he will be the main opposition candidate at presidential elections set for 2023. Reuters, and : Turkey’s opposition leader looks to emerge from Erdogan’s shadow

TURKMENISTAN

Election officials in the tightly controlled Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan have registered two more presidential candidates known as being loyal to the authoritarian President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. RFE RL: Two More Candidates Seen As Loyal To Turkmen President Registered In Election

UK 

As money-laundering risks rise with the increased adoption of cryptocurrencies, the UK needs to accelerate its response to maintain its future as a centre for financial innovation. RUSI, David Carlisle: Why the UK Needs to Accelerate its AML/CFT Efforts on Cryptoassets

USA – CHINA

Five decades after then US President Richard Nixon made an ice-breaking visit to China in 1972 that helped start bilateral diplomatic engagement, US business leaders in China voiced hope for continued commercial communication between China and the US and rejected a decoupling between the two economies. Global Times: Fifty years after Nixon’s visit, US businesses urge ‘continued cooperation’ with China

The Chinese yuan continued to strengthen against the US greenback as the former is drawing attention as a safe haven asset by global traders who are rattled by possible multiple rates hikes by the Federal Reserve to curb rapidly surging inflation in the US. Global Times: Chinese yuan continues to appreciate against the dollar, as US Federal Reserve is set to raise rates

China decided to take countermeasures against Raytheon and Lockheed Martin after the two US defense firms acted as the main contractors in the latest US arms sale to the island of Taiwan, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Monday. Global Times: China vows to take countermeasures against Raytheon, Lockheed Martin for US’ arms sale plan to Taiwan

Fifty years ago this week, US President Richard Nixon visited the People’s Republic of China and met with Chinese Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong. Nixon was the first president of the United States ever to visit China. At the time, the US and China both needed an ally against the aggressive Soviet Union. Nixon also wanted Mao’s support for exiting the Vietnam War. And after decades of internal turmoil, Mao needed American technology to help reconstruct China. The Strategist, Robert Wihtol: US–China relations: Nixon and Mao, 50 years on