Indo-Pacific Geopolitics Newsletter 14/08/2022 | foreign brief

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RADAR SWEEP Geopolitics Newsletter August 8-14, 2022 CHINESE MILITARY EXERCISES CONTINUE AROUND TAIWAN – AUGUST. 8-13 China announced in August

Geopolitics Bulletin August 8-14, 2022

CHINESE MILITARY EXERCISES CONTINUE AROUND TAIWAN – AUGUST. 8-13

China announced on August 8 that it would continue regular military exercises in the Taiwan Strait. It comes after the end on Sunday of a four-day exercise involving navy ships, aircraft and missile forces simulating a blockade of the island. Ships crossed the center line of the Taiwan Strait, the unofficial border between Chinese and Taiwanese waters, and missiles landed in Japan’s economic exclusion zone near waters off Okinawa. New drills Aug. 8-10 involved “joint anti-submarine and maritime assault operations,” according to China’s Eastern Theater Command, in charge of operations around Taiwan. China said it would continue to carry out regular patrols around the island in the future.

Beijing has stepped up aggressive actions around Taiwan following the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week. Beijing claims the island as its own sovereign territory and strongly criticizes any move it sees as supporting Taiwanese independence, such as President Pelosi’s visit. While the United States officially recognizes the “One China” principle, it has recently bolstered its support for Taiwan through diplomatic relations and arms sales, and publicly rejects reunification by force. Beijing, meanwhile, maintains its right to unify Taiwan by force if necessary, but until recently seemed to prefer resorting to peaceful measures. The increase in military exercises off the island is most likely an attempt to normalize Chinese activity in the region, train their troops in combined arms operations and show off their might to potential adversaries like the United States and the Japan. They would also allow the Chinese navy to slowly blockade Taiwan without declaring an open conflict and without invading the island.

Expect continued Chinese military exercises off Taiwan in the short to medium term. As international support for Taiwan grows, Beijing will likely begin to see forced reunification as a more attractive option, especially as its military power grows in the long run. Continued drills are likely to only heighten anti-Beijing sentiments in Taipei, reducing the possibility of de-escalation and peaceful unification. Taiwan will most likely seek to increase international trade in the medium term to increase international support and reduce economic ties with Beijing. In response to increased Chinese aggression in the short term, the United States is expected to send ships through the Taiwan Strait. Learn more here and here.

China conducts military military exercises in the Taiwan Strait – Photo: Hector Retamal/ Agence France-Presse/ Getty Images

Indo-Pacific geopolitics

US Under Secretary of State Concludes South Pacific Visit – August 9

US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s trip to the South Pacific is over. Visits to Samoa, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, Australia and New Zealand testify to the American desire to reconnect with the nations courted by Beijing. Expect greater U.S. engagement in the region in the future, with more development assistance for Pacific island nations to follow. Read more.

Sri Lanka postpones docking of Chinese research vessel – August 11

At Sri Lanka’s request, China has postponed the docking of a large research and surveillance vessel in a Sri Lankan port. The postponement comes at a time when Sri Lanka’s commitment to China, a longtime supporter of the country since its independence, is weakening. With India’s renewed commitment to help its southern neighbour, expect relations with Beijing to deteriorate further in the future. Read more.

India and Oman to conclude AL NAJAH-IV joint military exercises – August 14

India and Oman have concluded their joint military exercises, which mainly focused on cooperation in combating terrorism and piracy. As India already has naval rights in the Omani port of Duqm, it is likely that the two will continue to strengthen their ties as Omani trade with India increases and India seeks to secure a position. strategic and a partner in the Gulf. Read more.

Diplomacy

Visit of the Nepalese Foreign Minister to China – August 9

Nepalese Foreign Minister Narayan Khadka visited China to discuss bilateral economic cooperation, including projects under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, with his Chinese counterpart amid tensions across the Taiwan Strait following US House Speaker Pelosi’s controversial visit to the island. While Nepal appreciates Chinese investment, it also intends to maintain stable relations with India and the United States. Read more.

US Secretary of Defense concludes visit to Latvia – August 10

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is due to conclude his visit to Latvia. He and Latvian officials discussed the US military presence and support for the Baltic countries. Latvia is urging the United States to help build its defensive capabilities against asymmetric Russian incursions, and the United States is likely to approve additional aid. Read more.

The European Union bans the import of Russian coal – August 10

While the ban helps Europe reduce its carbon footprint, it also comes as the European Union seeks to reduce its dependence on Russian energy to counter Russia’s energy policy influence on the EU. West in the midst of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This will hurt the Russian economy, but not as much as it could, as Moscow has offset European sales with new markets in Asia. Read more.

national security

US warship begins exercises with Finnish Navy – August 8

USS Kearsarge participated in exercises with the Finnish Navy to improve bilateral military operability. Despite limited manpower, Helsinki’s NATO membership should provide the alliance with tactical support through its artillery forces. Finland’s proximity to Russia should raise concerns about the alliance’s Article 5 commitment. Read more.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announces cabinet reshuffle – August 10

Kishida announced his intention to reorganize the Japanese cabinet amid escalating tensions with China following China’s large-scale military exercises in the Indo-Pacific region. Japan says five Chinese ballistic missiles have landed in its exclusive economic zone. The Japanese government is seeking to increase its defense budget, review its national security framework, and consider constitutional reform to enable a joint military operational plan with the United States. Read more.

Finance, economy and technology

The Central Bank of Mexico publishes an 8.5% hike in its benchmark interest rate – August 11

The increase comes amid forecasts of an annual core inflation rate of 7.6%, the highest in more than 20 years. Mexico’s recent economic growth has been tepid, increasing by 1% over the past 3 months. Further rate hikes are likely as long as inflation remains above the bank’s 3% target rate. Read more.

Company

East African Community Releases Report on Kenya Elections – August 11

15 observers were deployed to monitor the general elections in Kenya, held on 9 August. The race was very close and EAC observers will be important to ensure a legitimate result. Disputes over election results are likely to lead to violent clashes. Read more.

Hong Kong reduces mandatory hotel quarantine – August 12

Hong Kong has reduced the period that international travelers must quarantine in a hotel upon arrival in Hong Kong from one week to 3 days. The easing of COVID restrictions is unlikely to affect the significant population decline Hong Kong is undergoing, with nearly 90,000 people emigrating from the island last year. Going forward, this trend is likely to continue as citizens remain frustrated with strict COVID laws that are hampering economic growth and Beijing’s political grip on Hong Kong. Read more.

NEW ANALYSIS

Hungarian plea for gas in Moscow: the links and the (financial) link – August 12

On July 21, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijarto traveled to Moscow to ask for additional supplies of Russian gas just days before the EU reached an agreement on rationing the use of gas in the winter to alleviate dependence on Russian energy. Read more.

THE WEEK AHEAD

U.S. and Indonesia to Conclude Super Garuda Shield Joint Military Exercises – August 14

The exercises mainly involved American and Indonesian troops, but also those of a dozen other partner countries. Super Garuda Shield seeks to train the Indonesian military to defend its territory against Chinese encroachment, which has increased in recent years. Read more.

Russia hosts the Moscow Conference on International Security – August 16

Defense ministers and high-ranking delegates from 35 countries will attend the Moscow Conference on International Security on August 16. The forum will discuss pressing Russian international security issues such as the fight against terrorism, the war in Syria and the fight against color revolutions. In particular, the war in Ukraine is missing. Read more. [External]

Serbian President Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Kurti meet for talks in Brussels – August 18

The meeting comes amid heightened tensions after local Serbs reacted violently to laws changing documentation requirements for Serbs in Kosovo. The EU will mediate the talks, but little progress is expected in resolving long-standing disputes. Read more. [External]

Australia begins Pitch Black 2022 military exercises – August 19

The Royal Australian Air Force will begin military exercises Pitch Black 2022 today. Hosting up to 100 aircraft from allied nations around the world, the event will test force integration and combat readiness. Read more. [External]

Contributions by: Westcott Yeaw, Alex Avaneszadeh, Simran Sharma, Marcos Wilson, Connor Elliott, Htet Thadar Aung, Kyle Rose, Ali Slimi and Andrew Alipui

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