These days it’s hard enough to try and keep up with all of the news developments stateside, let alone the international news and unrest; but some events and newly formed international alliances are worth keeping an eye on.
Russia – China – Iran
Let’s call this the Asian triple threat. Since Russia and China are former communist friends, it’s no surprise that Russia is beginning to strengthen the tie amidst the growing list of international sanctions regarding Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea.
The Associated Press reported, “Putin was in Shanghai for an Asian security conference where China’s president called for a new model of Asian security cooperation based on a regional group that includes Russia and Iran and excludes the United States.”
While visiting China, Putin was able to work-out a $400 billion natural gas deal that will last the next 30 years. This deal comes at the perfect time for Russia, as the financial belt is tightened by the likes of the United States and European Union over the Ukraine crisis.
It’s to be noted that China and Russia have been reportedly working on this deal for a decade, but Russia was certainly more willing to negotiate prices among the turmoil in and around its country.
Vietnam and Philippines vs. China
The Philippine President and Vietnamese Prime Minister have joined forces to oppose China’s sovereignty claim to the South China Sea. Earlier this month China moved one of its oil rigs to a region claimed by Vietnam, which only made the situation more confrontational.
The Associated Press notes, “Vietnam’s prime minister said Thursday for the first time that his country is considering legal action against China over its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, a move that Beijing would likely fiercely oppose.”
China warns N. Korea
With everything else going on in Asia right now, North Korea is acting like the middle child who just wants some attention. North Korea’s last provocation (nuclear test) came in February 2013, and is threatening the United States with a fourth nuclear test.
Reuters quotes a Western diplomat who was briefed by Chinese officials, “China has told North Korea that there is no justification for a new nuclear test and that they should not do it.”
Thailand under martial law
Aside from all the selfies being taken with military men, there is a more important underlying story happening in Thailand. Months have been spent fighting between pro- and anti-government protesters; tension came to a head last week when three people were killed by a grenade blast at an anti-government site. Following the ousting of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in early May, the two sides continue to fight over the style of government moving forward. One side wants a counsel to pick a new leader, while the others want democratic elections held.
The Associated Press is reporting that martial law has turned into a military coup, “Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said a military commission that imposed martial law two days earlier would now take control of the country’s administration.”