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Chinese Military Base: Is China Building a Military Base in Afghanistan

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Speculations of a Chinese Military Base being built in Afghanistan have been doing the rounds since last year. Why does China feel the need to build a Military Base in Afghanistan? Is Afghanistan willing to build a Chinese Military base on its lands?

China, a growing superpower, is concerned about terrorist organisations infiltrating into the peaceful regions of China via the terror-stricken Afghan region. China is in talks with Afghanistan about building a Chinese Military base to strengthen control over the border shared with its neighbour.

Read Latest EurAsian News at EurAsian Times: China Bigger Threat to US, than Russia – CIA Chief

The Chinese military base is expected to be built at the Wakhan Corridor, a rocky and remote region in Afghanistan. According to witnesses, both Chinese and Afghani military have been seen conducting joint vigils in the area, strengthening the speculation of a China Military base in the region.

Chinese Military Base: A Measure to Expand Economic and Geopolitical Influence

The China Military Base in Afghanistan will also play a vital role in Beijing’s attempt to expand it’s geopolitical as well as economic power over the region. The Chinese government are spending large amounts of money in building infrastructure in the South Asia region. With a fragile border and the scope of terrorists infiltrating the Chinese region, it could lead to destabilisation of the region and play havoc to security measures.

China believes that members of ETIM, a terrorist group, are crossing into china through Wakhan and carrying out terror attacks. It is also concerned about members of other terror groups running away from Syria and Iraq may infiltrate into China across Central Asia.

Read Latest Asian News at EurAsian Times: Another Suicide Bombing in Kabul within 24 Hours Takes Toll to 200+

A spokesperson from Defense Ministry of Afghanistan said that the plan to build a Chinese Military base has been in discussions since the end of last year but the final details have not been established. He also said that Afghanistan is going to build the military base, provided the Chinese govt. extends financial help, equipment and training for the Afghani soldiers, as committed.

China and Afghanistan Officials Deny Chinese Military Base Claims

However, both the Chinese and the Afghan officials deny the building of any Chinese military base in Afghanistan. A statement by the defence ministry of China stated that the Chinese army is in no way involved in any military operations in the remote Afghan region.

The fact that China has provided Afghanistan with over 70 million dollars of military aid over the last three years, it comes as no surprise that China is threatened by the militants impacting its economic interests in the region. Building a China military base in Afghanistan is thus a profitable move for both nations.

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Asia Pacific

Chinese App Ban: Weibo Users Ask Indian PM Narendra Modi To Return $750M Loan Granted By China

The Indian government banned a total of 59 Chinese apps including the teen favourite TikTok. India’s IT ministry has announced the banning of 59 Chinese apps that include giants like ShareIt, UC Browser, Likee, WeChat, Weibo and Bigo Live.

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Indian PM Narendra Modi’ move to quit Weibo, after the Chinese app ban was announced hasn’t gone down well with its users. With comments like ‘shut the door on your way out’ and ‘some people leave and you never even knew they were there’, most of the users seem to be either unaffected or critical of the move.

Galwan Valley Clash: Top Indian General Decodes Why India Lost 20 Soldiers In India-China Border Conflict

Another popular comment on Weibo was that India should return the $750-million loan, recently granted to assist the government in responding to the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a bank headquartered in Beijing.

As reported earlier by EurAsian Times, the Indian government banned a total of 59 Chinese apps including the teen favourite TikTok. India’s IT ministry has announced the banning of 59 Chinese apps that include giants names like TikTok, ShareIt, UC Browser, Likee, WeChat, Weibo and Bigo Live.

The Indian ministry called the Chinese-owned applications as “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order.” The Indian Cyber Crime Coordinate Centre under the Ministry of Home Affairs sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these “malicious apps”.

This marks the end of the “Weibo diplomacy” with China that started in 2015 as a means to directly communicate with the people of China before Modi’s first visit there. His first message said, “Hello China! Looking forward to interacting with Chinese friends through Weibo”. He had 2.44 lakh followers on the application.

“Prime Minister Modi had 115 posts on Weibo. It was decided to manually delete them and after much effort, 113 posts were removed,” said a source.

“There were two posts left where PM Modi and these are posts with photos with President Xi. On Weibo, it is difficult to remove posts with the photo of the Chinese President. Which is why, two posts still remained,” said a source. A government official said that for reasons best known to the Chinese, there was great delay in granting this basic permission.

“Some believe Modi should have been a little thicker skinned, comparing his action to that of the U.S. ambassador to China who maintains his Weibo page despite being the subject of longstanding criticism from Chinese netizens,” wrote CX Tech.

The state-run, Global Times described the ban as “deliberate interference in practical cooperation” between the two countries. It slammed the move stating “a lacklustre explanation for the nonsensical move”.

“If India’s sovereignty can be damaged by a handful of apps, just how vulnerable is it?” the paper said. “It was not long before Indians realised that turning nationalist rhetoric into action is more difficult, as there are no available and affordable alternatives to Chinese-made products such as smartphones, chemicals, automotive components and many other items… It seems that not only has the Modi government failed to rein in the rising nationalism among Indians, it has also yielded to domestic pressure and even encouraged such a boycott to escalate.”

It also warned of a dip in investment as the paper said that it surveyed experts who “predicted Chinese overseas direct investment (ODI) into India will drop sharply in 2020, with two experts forecasting a more than 50 per cent cut.”

“Bad feelings go both ways, and the chance for China-India relationship to pick up in the short-term is slim. Chinese investors are on the edge with risk-aversion instinct kicking in,” Qian Feng, director of the research department of the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University.

China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said that India’s app ban could have possibly violated the World Trade Organization’s rules and commitments. “We hope that India can immediately correct its discriminatory practices against China and Chinese enterprises”, Feng added.

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Dominican Republic Goes To Poll; Results Will Decide The Fate Of US, China

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On Sunday, the Dominican Republic will hold elections as the Central American nation looks to elect their next President and renew the totality of senate (32) and deputy (190) seats.

Iran Hints At Cyber Attacks By Israel or US at Natanz Nuclear Facility; Vows Retaliation

Elections were originally scheduled to take place on May 17 but had to be postponed due to an upsurge in coronavirus cases. Domestically, the election could lead to a change in government and end the decade long run of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD).

Internationally, the winner of the Presidential election decides the future of the Dominican Republic foreign relations with regards to the United States and China.

The Candidates

To win the election, a candidate must get 50%+ 1% of the total votes. If none of the contestants is able to win a clear majority, a second-round runoff is held between the two candidates with the highest votes on the first round.

While a total of 6 candidates are hoping to serve as the next the President, according to experts, the outcome of the election will be determined by the three leading candidates from the PLD, Force of the People party (FP) and Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM).

The PLD has occupied the presidency for 20 of the past 24 years. Incumbent President Danilo Medina will not seek a third consecutive term ( his decision to do so was met by domestic resistance) and instead, Gonzalo Castillo, the former minister of public works and communications, will be contesting for the PLD.

Elections in the Dominican Republic will be monitored by 80 observers from the Organization of American States (OAS). Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, Dominican authorities ensure that all necessary precautions have been taken care of. Image source: Facebook

Those including to oust PLD include Leonel Fernández and Luis Abinader of the FP and PRM respectively. Fernandez, a three-time President of the Dominican Republic, quit the PLD after losing the PLD primary run-off against Castillo in 2019. Displeased with the defeat, Fernandez formed his own party and announced his decision to seek election for the fourth time.

A businessman by profession, Luis Abinader has no previous experience in public office. Abinader was a close associate of former President Hipólito Mejía. When Mejia quit the PRD in 2014, Abinader decided to join him at the newly formed PRM. According to poll predictions, Abinader is either close to or will outright win in the first-round election. Much of the rise can be credited to the rift between Medina (PLD) and Fernández (FP).

Even if Abinader does not win the election, he and Fernández have agreed to a deal for the run-off election. In November 2019, both formed an electoral alliance, agreeing that whoever between them captured the most votes in the presidential election would, in turn, receive the other’s political backing in the event of a runoff election. They also agreed to nominate joint candidates for mayor and Congress in 24 of the 32 provinces.

US-China to Closely Follow Elections

The Presidential elections in the Dominican Republic are being closely monitored by both the United States and China. In 2018, much to the shock of US an Taiwan, Danilo Medina broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan and established ties with China instead.

This was followed by Medina travelling to Beijing and inking 18 bilateral agreements including on agriculture, culture and tourism. Experts predict Chinese investment in the Caribbean nation will reach US$10 billion in the coming years.

For China, PLD remaining in power is essential for Sino-Dominican relations. Although PLD presidential candidate Castillo’s foreign policy platform makes abstract reference to the need to “deepen, diversify, and expand bilateral and multilateral relations,” one presumes he would maintain diplomatic and commercial relations with China.

Fernández and the Abinader, on the other hand, understand the importance of the US as an ally and will likely scale down ties with Beijing. Both candidates even declined invitations from the Chinese government to visit.

For the US, Abinader winning the election would be the perfect scenario. The 52-year-old is keen on strengthening strategic relations with the US, recognizing that it is the Dominican Republic’s main commercial partner, were about two million Dominicans or those of Dominican origin reside and were about 40 per cent of tourists who visit the Dominican Republic come from.

Regardless of who wins, the elections in the Dominican Republic will be interesting to watch. Elections in the middle of a global pandemic is a challenge in itself and the people of the Dominican Republic will surely be excited to see new faces in the country’s politics.

Written by- Armaan Srivastava. Views Personnel

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Asia Pacific

After Japan Backs India At LAC, Chinese Navy Intrudes Into Japanese Territorial Waters

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Days after Japan extended support to India and antagonizing China, patrol ships from the Chinese Navy entered Japanese territory twice this week. Japanese Coast Guard confirmed the presence of Chinese patrol ships in the territorial waters of Japan. 

US To Conduct Biggest War Drills In South China Sea Amid India-China Border Tensions

The latest intrusion by China comes days after Japan had supported India and called for a peaceful resolution, opposing any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in Ladakh.

As per media reports, two Chinese patrol ships entered the waters of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea on Thursday before re-entering the area again.

The Chinese ships even approached a Japanese fishing vessel inside the territorial water and the Coast guard said it was the longest intrusion into the territorial waters by Chinese ships. Despite repeated calls to leave the area, the vessels stayed inside Japanese territory for nearly 30 hours before leaving on Friday.

The Senkaku Islands, as japan calls it, have been contested by China and Japan for nearly a century. Located 1,200 miles (1,931 kilometres) southwest of Tokyo, the islands have been administered by Japan since 1972.

Since April, Japan has reportedly spotted at least 67 Chinese ships near Senkaku islands. Japan has already deployed its missiles towards its border facing China amid its several maritime incursions.

To avoid any confusion, Ishigaki City Council in Japan’s Okinawa approved legislation to change the administrative status of the Senkaku islands by changing its name from “Tonoshiro” to Tonoshiro Senkaku” in June.

Chinese aggression could also be retaliation against Japan as they grow closer to each other in an effort to contain China, expert talking to EurAsian Times state. Japan is also looking to sign an intelligence-sharing pact with India, Australia and the UK to track Chinese Navy vessels in the region.

The ongoing feud at Ladakh has helped India and Japan to strengthen their ties even further. On Friday, Satoshi Suzuki, Japanese Ambassador to India, said that he had a “good talk” with Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla in this regard.  The Japanese Ambassador took to twitter to express appreciation for the briefing on the situation along LAC and hoped for a peaceful resolution.

With regards to the Chinese intrusion into Japanese waters, Tokyo has lodged strong protests with China. The disputed islands are also claimed by Taiwan.

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