1. The event at the World Health Assembly (WHA) is attracting a lot of attention for controversies and high politics.The WHA is the mother organization of World Health Org and affiliated body of the UN. It is composed of health ministers of member states of some 124 Countries. On Monday, more than 110 countries have supported the Australian government which has called for an ‘independent inquiry’ into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. China believes the resolution is ill-intentioned, ill-timed and being pushed to defame China. Chinese President Xi Jinping while addressing WHA said China supports the ‘review of pandemic’ led by WHO, to sum up, experience and address deficiencies. He appreciated worldwide economic hardship and pledged two Billion dollars annually for developing countries, mainly Africans countries, and called for debt service suspension. The US has severely criticized the WHO and called for its immediate reformation/changes in hierarchy. Quite interestingly, today, the UN and its affiliated institutions stand closer to China than the US. I was particularly surprised Why Russia has supported the move for an independent inquiry!! Meanwhile, on the domestic front, Beijing has prioritized development in China’s interior to reduce reliance on its exports. It means China is focusing on the development of its western provinces that is the good news for less privileged people of Sinkiang.
Source: World 72nd World Health Assembly – Opening Ceremony
2. The U.S. and China have increased their operational presence near Taiwan in recent months. US-China tension is escalating, likely to continue till U.S. presidential Election in Nov 2020. U.S. sails warship near Taiwan a week ahead of presidential inauguration (Reuters) “The U.S. Pacific Fleet sailed a guided-missile destroyer, the USS McCampbell, through the Taiwan Strait, a week before Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s inauguration for a second term in office amid rising tension with China.”
3. A senior U.S. Senator. Thom Tillis presents 18-points plan to ‘protect the U.S. economy and national security’ by countering threats posed by China. He calls for Intl investigation to sanction China. The project specifically named Taiwan, India and Vietnam in Asia as critical partners with which the U.S. needs to deepen relations. The senator suggests permitting Japan to rebuild its military, and selling offensive U.S. military equipment to both Japan and South Korea. Now the contours of Intl politics under ‘corona pandemic’ are clearly visible. The teaming up of Vietnam and Japan teaming up to their former enemy, the US is quite interesting.
4. China rejects planned U.S. moves at U.N. on Iran sanctions (Reuters) “China’s mission to the United Nations in New York said that by quitting the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, Washington had “failed to meet its obligations” under a 2015 Security Council resolution that enshrined the agreement.”
Comments: Under the JCPOA, better known as Iran nuclear deal, UN sanctions on Iran will expire in October. The US wants cancellation of agreement and continuation of sanctions on Iran, and China is opposing the US’ move in favour of Iran. The event would test the limit of US influence in the Security Council during the post-pandemic era. The US and Chinese hectic diplomatic campaign commence.
5. US Navy Awards Boeing $1.9B to Supply Saudi Arabia with SLAM ER Missiles (Defense World.net)
Comments: The United States Navy has awarded Boeing $1.9 billion combined to supply Stand-off Land Attack Missile – Expanded Response (SLAM-ER) missiles to Saudi Arabia. A week earlier, the Patriot missile systems from Saudi Arabia have been removed. The US military presence in Saudi Arabia appears to be for the Pentagon’s interest maintained at the expense of Saudi Arabia. Currently, the US military is upgrading its weapon systems in the region to counter the US adversaries.
6. Saudis Slash Oil Sales to Meet Pledge for Deeper Output Cuts (Bloomberg) “Saudi Arabia will trim oil shipments to the prized Asian market in June and cut exports even more aggressively to Europe and the U.S., in a possible sop to President Donald Trump and hard-pressed American shale producers.”
Comments: OPEC+ has reached to a consensus over the reduction of oil output. US shale oil companies producing domestic supplies in the US will be significant beneficiaries. For us in Asia, oil prices in the international market would start increasing from the first week of Jun 2020.
7. IAF chief contradicts CDS Rawat, says plan is to buy 114 foreign fighters besides LCA Tejas by Snehesh Alex Philip. (The Print) Comments: Indian Chief of Defense for the first time appeared quite rational when he talked of indigenization of defense industries for India but he was promptly let down by IAF chief. The services HQs of India have not accepted the very idea of CDS and they are reluctant to shed their long held administrative and legal control.