Despite recent bids to save the 2015 nuclear accord – which the United States withdrew from last year – Iran said it plans to exceed limits on its stockpile of enriched uranium next week. Iran then shot down an American military drone, and reports also emerged that the United States had called for a retaliatory military strike before it was called off by President Donald Trump at the last minute. Continue reading
Venezuela is back in the news for three immediate reasons: Growing popular protests against the government of President Nicolás Maduro, the declaration by an opposition lawmaker of the illegitimacy of the government, as well as the involvement of other countries. In the beginning of the week, a small team of soldiers – days ahead of a national call for protests issued by the opposition-controlled National Assembly – attempted an uprising against the government. Later in the week, Vice President of the United States Mike Pence publicly criticised Mr. Maduro, sending a videotaped message to the country’s residents. President Donald Trump then recognised the opposition leader as the interim president. These moves are crafted with the intent to pressure Mr. Maduro to step aside and to restore democracy in Venezuela, and countries in Latin America such as Argentina and Brazil followed with recognitions. Yet countries such as Bolivia, China, Mexico, Russia, and Turkey continue to back the government of Mr. Maduro. The country’s military chief also declared loyalty to him. Continue reading
In the same week China landed a lunar probe on the moon and Canada said that 13 of its citizens have been detained in China, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Taiwan to follow the “one country, two systems” model for unification. The president said that “Taiwanese independence should not be tolerated” and urged the start of democratic consultations between the two countries. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, however, said Taiwan will never accept the model, even as Mr. Xi proposed two options: First, military force; or second, the aforementioned “one country, two systems” model.
Later in the week, China’s landing of a lunar probe marked “the world’s first expedition to a lunar region that never faces the Earth”. And in Canada, following the arrest of the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, the government said that 13 of its citizens have since been detained in China. At least eight of the 13 have been released. Continue reading