US-Soldaten in Afghanistan

South China Morning Post



"'Prepare for war', Xi Jinping tells military region that monitors South China Sea, Taiwan"

Chinas Präsident Xi Jinping hat bei seinem Besuch des regionalen Militärkommandos im Süden Chinas deutlich gemacht, dass sich die dort stationierten Truppen auch auf einen möglichen Kriegsfall vorbereiten müssten. "One of the primary missions of the Southern Theatre Command is overseeing the South China Sea, an area where tensions and military activity involving China, the US and other powers have been growing steadily. (...) Military observers said Xi’s comments were most likely intended to boost morale and reiterate Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. 'It’s likely intended as a signal to the US in particular and any parties that Beijing perceives to be causing provocation [in the disputed waters],' said Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore."

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"Guantanamo prison to stay open at least 25 years"

Das umstrittene US-Gefangenenlager Guantanamo soll nach den Worten des zuständigen Konteradmirals John Ring mindestens 25 weitere Jahre bestehen. "In January, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order, reversing his predecessor Obama’s ultimately fruitless 2009 directive to close the facility that has drawn global scorn. Following Trump’s move, 'they told us we are going to be here for 25 years or more,' said Ring, Commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo. The Pentagon 'sent us a memo saying plan to be open' for at least 25 years, Ring said during a visit regularly organised by the US military for journalists, with the aim of showing that prisoners are treated humanely at the American enclave in communist Cuba’s southeast."

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"China pledges US$23 billion in loans and aid to Arab states as it boosts ties in Middle East"

China hat umfassende Kredite und Freihandelsverträge im Nahen Osten in Aussicht gestellt, berichtet Laura Zhou. "It comes as Beijing tries to shore up its geostrategic footprint in the Middle East, a key part of its 'Belt and Road Initiative' that aims to connect China to Africa and Europe through a network of ports, railways, roads and industrial parks. Replacing the United States in 2010 as the largest trading partner to the bloc, Beijing has been boosting its economic ties with Arab countries, which remain largely defined by China’s energy demands – over half of its worldwide crude oil imports come from the Middle East."

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"China may take bigger role as 'guarantor and mediator' after Trump-Kim nuclear talks"

Laura Zhou berichtet dagegen, dass Peking von einem zunächst symbolischen Erfolg des Gipfeltreffens zwischen Donald Trump mit Kim Jong-un ausgehe und bereit sei, beide Seien bei einer Einigung zu unterstützen. "Beijing is expected to take a bigger role in Korean peninsula negotiations after US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meet on Tuesday – helping the two sides to push forward any deals they make. The role would be as a 'guarantor', Chinese analysts say, not just of progress on the denuclearisation Washington is seeking, but also to ensure what Kim wants most: the safety of his regime."

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"North Korea’s nuclear test site has collapsed ... and that may be why Kim Jong-un suspended tests"

Die von Nordkorea angekündigte Schließung einer Atomtestanlage ist der South China Morning Post zufolge möglicherweise darauf zurückzuführen, dass die Einrichtung kollabiert ist und nun eine radioaktive Kontamination droht, die auch China und andere Nachbarländer betreffen könnte. "North Korea’s mountain nuclear test site has collapsed, putting China and other nearby nations at unprecedented risk of radioactive exposure, two separate groups of Chinese scientists studying the issue have confirmed. The collapse after five nuclear blasts may be why North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared on Friday that he would freeze the hermit state’s nuclear and missile tests and shut down the site, one researcher said. (...) One group of researchers found that the most recent blast tore open a hole in the mountain, which then collapsed upon itself. A second group concluded that the breakdown created a 'chimney' that could allow radioactive fallout from the blast zone below to rise into the air."

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"China wins its war against South Korea’s US THAAD missile shield – without firing a shot"

Südkorea habe im Streit um das amerikanische Raketenabwehrsystem THAAD gegenüber China Zugeständnisse gemacht und Peking damit zu einem wichtigen diplomatischen Sieg mit möglicherweise langfristigen regionalen Folgen verholfen, schreibt David Josef Volodzko. "Beijing, which claims the system’s radar can be used by the United States to spy on China, retaliated against the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system with unofficial sanctions against the South. Seoul has now agreed to accept military constraints in return for the lifting of those sanctions, creating a worrying precedent for Beijing’s rivals in the region. The military constraints are known as the 'three nos', meaning Seoul agrees there will be no further anti-ballistic missile systems in Korea, no joining of a region-wide US missile defence system and no military alliance involving Korea, the US and Japan. This is an enormous sacrifice but for reasons both economic and political Moon had few other options."

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"Chinese in the Russian Far East: a geopolitical time bomb?"

Ivan Tselichtchev von der Niigata University of Management in Japan fürchtet, dass die verstärkte ökonomische Kooperation Russlands und Chinas im Fernen Osten aufgrund des wirtschaftlichen und demographischen Übergewichts Chinas und wegen historischer Territorialkonflikte zu neuen Spannungen zwischen beiden Ländern führen könnte. "(...) the issue of Chinese presence in the RFE touches a raw nerve in Russia, largely for two reasons. First, Russians view it in the context of the enormous and growing economic and population incongruence with China and second, the three-decades-long Sino-Soviet confrontation, including border clashes in the late 1960s. China’s population is about 10 times that of Russia. The population of the RFE, comprising seven provinces, is only a little more than 6 million – an average density of less than one person per square kilometre. (...) Since 1991, the RFE has lost about a quarter of its population. China’s gross domestic product is almost 10 times that of Russia’s and the gap is increasing."

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"On relations with China and North Korea, Trump has the makings of a statesman"

In seinen ersten hundert Amtstagen habe US-Präsident Trump insbesondere im Umgang mit China und der Nordkoreakrise "instinktive staatsmännische Fähigkeit" an den Tag gelegt, meint der Historiker und frühere Berater des US-Außenministeriums John Barry Kotch. "(...) in interacting with foreign leaders at the White House and at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump has demonstrated an intuitive grasp of statesmanship, his signature 'art of the deal' persona on display. (...) The key question is whether Xi and Trump can play a credible 'good cop, bad cop' routine, which will require deft diplomacy combining Chinese economic leverage with US military muscle. (...) In this connection, Trump has subtly ratcheted up the pressure on the North, letting it be known in Pyongyang as well as Beijing that the military option is no longer off the table. (...) Equally importantly, it will require keeping in mind the overriding policy objective, most clearly expressed by Admiral Harry Harris, the US Pacific Commander, who told a congressional committee this week that the US goal was to bring Kim Jong-un 'to his senses, not to his knees'."

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"Why Japan is relieved about Trump"

Der Besuch von Premierminister Abe in Washington sei in Japan von vielen Bürgern als großer Erfolg interpretiert worden, berichtet Julian Ryall. Es herrsche Erleichterung vor, da Präsident Trump sowohl die Handels- als auch die Sicherheitsbeziehungen zwischen beiden Ländern bekräftigt habe. "'I’m not sure if 70 per cent praised the outcome of the meeting because my sense is that most people here are simply indifferent,' said Mayako Shibata, a university student. 'People don’t care if Trump is the president – it could have been Bush or Obama – but they just want Japan to have a good working relationship with America in terms of security and trade,' she said. 'People around me were saying they were worried about the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal, but now it looks like there will be a bilateral deal, so that problem is solved and businesses are happy,' she told This Week in Asia. 'And I think Abe might secretly have been quite happy when North Korea fired that missile because he could use it as evidence of the importance of the security alliance,' she added."

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"Trump’s phone call, arms sales and the future of Sino-US ties"

Das Telefongespräch Donald Trumps mit der Präsidentin Taiwans lässt China Wendy Wu zufolge befürchten, dass die USA unter dem kommenden Präsidenten Taiwan noch stärker mit Waffen beliefern könnten. "Together with Trump’s Twitter messages, the phone call has triggered huge concern in the mainland about further weapon sales to the island after Trump is sworn in on January 20. It has been interpreted as a signal of further confrontation between the China and US. The last arms sales were announced by the Obama administration in December 2015 after a suspension of four years, the longest interval between two arms sales to Taiwan, when cross-strait ties during the administration of Ma Ying-jeou were friendlier."

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"When Mosul falls, will Islamic State head to Asia?"

Auch in Asien wachse die Sorge vor der Rückkehr kampferprobter Dschihadisten, die gegenwärtig für den IS in Mosul kämpfen, schreibt Bhavan Jaipragas in der South China Morning Post. "There is rising concern among regional counterterrorism officials that the US-backed war machine encircling Islamic State (IS) is inadvertently spawning a jihadist alumni network in Southeast Asia and elsewhere made up of fleeing militants seeking a safe haven in their home countries. 'The threats posed by foreign terrorist fighter returnees are real and imminent,' Jeremy Douglas, the representative for the UNODC in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, told This Week in Asia. 'Increasing military pressure on [IS] in Syria and Iraq is now expected to result in more returnees including many that will want to pursue violent jihad in the region.'"

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"Why are Malaysia, Singapore nervous as Iraq looks to retake Mosul from Islamic State?"

Die Regierung Malaysias fürchtet Bhavan Jaipragas zufolge, dass die Vertreibung des "Islamischen Staates" aus der irakischen Stadt Mosul zu einer massenhaften Rückkehr von Dschihadisten in ihre Heimatländer in Südostasien führen könnte. "'It will be thousands of them. This is why it’s important for us to have a trilateral relationship with Indonesia and the Philippines. We need to ensure we can get as [much] intel as possible to strengthen and to protect our region,” [The country’s defence minister, Hishammuddin Hussein,] was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times newspaper. (...) 'I think this is going to be an imminent threat. When the fighters return to countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, they will build a kind of alumni network, like the fighters from Afghanistan nearly two decades ago,' said Ridlwan Habib, a counterterrorism expert at the University of Indonesia. Ridlwan said the returning fighters would bring with them 'new strategies and skillsets'."

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"Lost in limbo: Refugee crisis may create generation of stateless children, experts warn"

Strikte Einbürgerungsgesetze in Europa könnten eine Generation staatenloser Kinder entstehen lassen, so eine Warnung des European Network on Statelessness (ENS). "An ENS report, which analyses nationality laws in 47 European countries, says flawed laws and birth registration procedures mean thousands of children are growing up stateless across the continent. It also highlights emerging concerns over the risk of statelessness to some children born in exile to Syrian refugees. (...) Problems are compounded in cases where the father is absent or has been killed because discriminatory Syrian laws prevent mothers passing their nationality to their children. An estimated 60,000 babies have already been born in exile in Council of Europe member Turkey, which is hosting some 2 million Syrian refugees."

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"Balance of superpowers - Comparing the armed forces of US and China"

In der South China Morning Post ist als Reaktion auf die internationale Kritik an den wachsenden chinesischen Rüstungsausgaben eine Infografik veröffentlicht worden, die verdeutlichen soll, dass der chinesische Militärhaushalt im internationalen Maßstab und insbesondere im Vergleich zu den USA keineswegs außergewöhnlich sei. "Even after several years of double-digit spending increases, China’s military reach is limited to its home territory. The reach of the US armed forces includes historical ties with traditional allies, geographic distribution and cutting-edge technology, as well as income through arms exports."

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"US experts warn of cyberattack risk over further sanctions on Russia"

Russische Hacker könnten US-Experten zufolge auf die möglichen neuen Sanktionen gegen Russland mit verstärkten Cyber-Attacken gegen den Westen antworten. "Cybersecurity specialists consider Russian hackers among the world's best at infiltrating networks and say evidence exists that they have already inserted malicious software on computers in the US. The Financial Services Roundtable, an industry group that includes Citigroup and Bank of America, was watching for any signs of hacking attacks, although nothing appeared imminent, said Paul Smocer, head of the technology policy division of the Washington-based trade group. 'A cyberattack is a real concern that we all need to have,' Smocer said. 'Nation states' ability to launch cyberattacks is certainly real nowadays, and so in any conflict, I think that the possibility exists as we worry about escalation.'"

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"Jihadist in Iraq may push into Baghdad ahead of elections"

Der französischen Nachrichtenagentur AFP zufolge könnten radikalislamische Kämpfer im Irak vor den Parlamentswahlen ihren offenen Kampf gegen die Regierungstruppen in die Hauptstadt Bagdad tragen. "The latest clashes, just weeks before parliamentary elections, raise key questions over the capacity of the army and police to repel militant attacks. Anti-government fighters currently hold all of Fallujah, a town that is just a short drive from Baghdad, and other pockets of territory. The push by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) into the Abu Ghraib area, sparking clashes in nearby Zoba and Zaidan and a failed assault on a military camp in Yusifiyah, illustrate the group's ambition, even with Fallujah under military siege. In perhaps the most worrying sign of ISIL's capabilities, anti-government fighters paraded with dozens of vehicles last week in broad daylight in Abu Ghraib, just 20 kilometres from the capital, according to witnesses and videos posted to YouTube."

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