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Geopolitics

Why China Is Still Watching Ukraine So Closely

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine changed the rules of diplomacy. As Russia and China show budding unity, the world's diplomats must look at the effects of Eastern Europe on East Asia — and Taiwan specifically.

-Analysis-

PARIS — A few days ago in Tokyo, during the “Quad” summit (the security group of Japan, Australia, India and the U.S.), President Joe Biden promised to use force if China ever attacked Taiwan. Shortly after, the White House made it clear that nothing had changed in the doctrine of "strategic ambiguity" which was (and remains?) U.S. policy on the question of Taiwan.

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EU’s Russian Oil Ban, Canada Handgun Ban, Caked Mona Lisa

👋 Xin chào!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where EU leaders agree on a partial embargo on Russian oil, Canada proposes a total freeze on handgun ownership, and the Mona Lisa gets smeared with cream. Meanwhile, Jacques Attali in French daily Les Echos asks: Are we ready for the return of Donald Trump?

[*Vietnamese]

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First War Crime Verdict, New Australian Prime Minister, Food & Energy Wealth Gap

👋 வணக்கம்!*

Welcome to Monday, where Anthony Albanese is sworn in as Australia's new prime minister, a verdict is in for the first war crimes trial in Ukraine and the food & energy industrials get outrageously richer. In Colombian daily El Espectador, María Mónica Monsalve Sánchez explores how Colombia is toeing the line between carbon-offsetting and unabashed greenwashing.

[*Vanakkam, Tamil - India]

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More Surrender In Mariupol, Sri Lanka Defaults On Debt, Vincent Van LEGO

👋 Sveiki!*

Welcome to Thursday, where more Ukrainian soldiers surrender in Mariupol, Sri Lanka defaults on its debt,and George W. Bush offers an epic geopolitical gaffe. Meanwhile, Lili Bai in Chinese-language digital media The Initium looks at what’s driving the current “expat exodus” at play in Shanghai.

[*Latvian]

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Taiwan
Shi Qingye

The War In Ukraine Should Force China To Rethink Its Taiwan Narrative

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has put China's stance on Taiwan back in the spotlight. But despite shared narratives of national unity, there are key differences in how Beijing and Moscow approach territories they consider their own.

–Analysis–

Ever since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there have been comparisons between the Russian-Ukrainian war and China's standoff with Taiwan, with divergent views on whether the same scene would be repeated.

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The situations have similarities: Both Moscow and Beijing use the notion of “national unity” and Putin's war narrative also reflects China's theoretical dilemma on the issue of "anti-secession".

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Geopolitics
Farid Kahhat

The Ukraine-Taiwan Analogy: Real Fears And False Correlations

The United States has no treaty obligation to send troops to protect Taiwan against China, but it has a "fairly clear" commitment to aid its defense, unlike in Ukraine. The economic stakes are also a source for worry.

-Analysis-

Days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the flight of Chinese jets near Taiwan provoked jitters around the world. The worries were unnecessary as Taiwan's air defense identification zone, where the jets had flown, is effectively bigger than its airspace.

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Also, the incursions were not unusual, having occurred 900 times since the air zone was created. Any comparison between the cases of Taiwan and Ukraine overlooks the fact that — beyond the current context — Taiwan is actually more important to the United States than Ukraine.

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In The News
Laure Gautherin and Bertrand Hauger

In Call With Erdogan, Putin States His Demands For Ending War

👋 Rimaykullayki!*

Welcome to Friday, where Russian bombs hit the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. Rescue operations are still underway for the hundreds of survivors in the rubble of Mariupol theater; meanwhile, Putin details his demands for the end of the war, in a phone call with Turkey’s Erdogan. From Argentina, we look at the promising AI-driven health tech being developed and what it could mean in the treatment of several illnesses such as diabetes, cancer or COVID.

[*Quechua - South America]

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Julián López de Mesa Samudio

Taiwan, Past And Future: Two Lessons For China From The Russia-Ukraine War

China is already profiting from the West's economic divorce from Russia. But its biggest interest may be to learn from Russia's experience of invading a land it claims for itself.

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — On Dec. 7, 1949, the Chinese nationalist leader fighting the communists, Chiang Kai-shek, decided to move his operations provisionally from mainland China to the island of Formosa, or Taiwan. For 50 years, until the end of the Second World War, the island had been part of the Japanese empire.

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More than two million sympathizers of his cause, the Kuomintang, also moved to Formosa, hoping to bide their time there before they could reverse the communist conquest of mainland China.

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Geopolitics
Santiago Villa

Welcome To The Age Of Instability

As Russia and China push their way to the top of the power heap, and the United States balks at playing global police force, expect fundamental changes to accepted norms governing international affairs.

-Analysis-

BOGOTÁ — We live in contradictory times.

On the one hand, nations have, to a universal and unprecedented degree, agreed upon certain rules of an international system. The principle of nation-state as defining political actor has spread to every corner of the Earth — bar Marie Byrd Land, that unclaimed territory of the Antarctic. Even marginal and rebellious states like North Korea are slowly integrating into the international rules system.

On the other hand, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, several non-Western powers have given themselves authority to violate the principle of national sovereignty. The previous international order revolved around another idea: that only the Western powers could violate the sovereignty of states without provoking a violent reaction from other powers.

The idea that states have a sovereign right to determine their affairs is a laudable principle, yet it is as fragile as ever, increasingly violated in different regions around the world.

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Future
Dan Wu

Taiwan's Virtual "Tuck-Me-In" Platform Shows COVID Impact On Dating Apps

Do you long for bedtime stories told remotely? Or miss the companionship a voice provides? There's an app for that, which also responds to special COVID-19 needs of dating apps that allows for more direct online communication.

TAIPEI — PlayOne is a popular app in Taiwan that provides online partners for streaming video gaming and other chat functionality. But recently the app began to offer online companionship with a new option: “Calling to sleep.”

On this particular platform, a user can select the characteristics of their ideal companion to be nearby, virtually, when bedtime arrives. A range of features can be selected, including the go-to-sleep voice and appearance of the person who is there with you remotely as you drift off to sleep. The price? One sleep buddy says that he charges about $13 per hour.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet and Jane Herbelin

Assange’s Extradition, Nicaragua & China, Sweden v. IKEA

👋 Сәлем!*

Welcome to Friday, where the U.S. wins bid to extradite whistleblower Julian Assange, Nicaragua breaks off ties with Taiwan to align with China and Sweden takes issue with IKEA branding. In the wake of New Zealand’s plans to ban all future cigarette sales, we take a look at toughening smoking laws around the world.

[*Salem - Kazakh]

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Ideas
Marcos Peckel

Biden's Democracy Summit: The Sad Truth About The Invitation List

Can the countries the United States have invited to an exclusive summit on democracy safeguard and spread a system that is inherently flawed and fragile?

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — Don't expect much from the Summit for Democracy, summoned by the U.S. President Joe Biden.

Slated later this week, it follows other initiatives to defend and promote democracy worldwide, and will convene by video remote the representatives of 110 invited countries, which the U.S. State Department considers democracies.

Its three stated objectives are: defense against authoritarianism, fighting corruption and promoting respect for human rights.

The first controversy around the gathering emerged from the guest list, which includes some of the United States' chief regional allies.

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