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China slams U.S. arms sales to Taiwan region as ‘dangerous bet’

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A Chinese military spokesperson warned on Friday that the United States’ attempts to arm China’s Taiwan region are a “very dangerous bet,” and urged the U.S. to stop selling arms to Taiwan or having any military contact with it.

Zhang Xiaogang, a spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, made the remarks in a statement in response to reports that the U.S. Department of State had approved the potential sale to Taiwan of advanced tactical data link system upgrade planning worth $75 million.

“We firmly oppose the U.S. arms sales to China’s Taiwan region. It is a firm and clear-out position,” said Zhang.

The U.S. has been manipulating Taiwan-related issues in attempts such as arms sales and military assistance to the Taiwan region so as to fuel the arrogance of “Taiwan independence” forces, he said.

Such moves have gravely undermined China’s sovereignty and security interests, seriously damaged China-U.S. relations and their military-to-military relationship, bluntly interfered China’s internal affairs and escalated tensions across the Taiwan Straits, said Zhang.

“The Taiwan question is the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations, and the U.S. arming of Taiwan is a very dangerous bet,” he warned.

The Chinese side urges the U.S. to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-U.S. joint communiques, especially the August 17 Communique of 1982, said Zhang.

The U.S. must stop selling arms to Taiwan or having military contact with it, stop arming Taiwan in whatever means, and stop the provocative behaviors of “using Taiwan to contain China,” he said, calling for the U.S. to take real actions to preserve the overall relationship between China and the U.S. and their militaries and safeguard regional peace and stability.

China will take strong and resolute measures to firmly defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, he added.

Source(s): CGTN

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Israeli strikes intensify across Gaza, army urges evacuation

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Israel on Tuesday ordered residents of the city of Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate “urgently” ahead of a new planned onslaught in the area.

“You are in a dangerous combat zone,” Avichay Adraee, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), wrote on the social media platform X.

He stated that the army has an imminent plan to “act with great force” against militant infrastructure in the area.

Israeli attacks intensified on Tuesday, with reports of strikes in the northern regions, where the IDF had previously pulled back some of its forces, as well as in central and southern areas.

Several air strikes and ground shelling were reported in the central and southern areas of the Gaza Strip, as residents described almost non-stop bombardment, according to Reuters.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Tuesday in a press statement that the Israeli army killed 32 Palestinians and wounded 59 others during the past 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 34,183 and injuries to 77,143 since the Israel-Hamas conflict broke out on October 7, 2023.

Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Hezbollah group announced on Tuesday that it had struck Israeli bases north of the city of Acre with a drone, in its deepest strike into Israeli territory since the conflict began.

According to the Israeli military, it was unaware of any of its facilities being targeted by Hezbollah, but had stated earlier on Tuesday that it had intercepted two “aerial targets” off Israel’s northern coast.

Satellite photos analyzed by the Associated Press appear to show a new compound of tents being built near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip as the Israeli military signals that it plans an offensive on the city of Rafah. But a Palestinian health official later said the tent camp was being set up to house displaced people who are currently sheltering in a hospital and is not related to any impending military operation.

Khan Younis has been targeted by repeated Israeli military operations over recent weeks. According to an AP report on Tuesday, Israel said it has planned to evacuate civilians from Rafah during an anticipated offensive on the southern city, where hundreds of thousands of people have taken refuge during the conflict.

More than 1 million residents in the Gaza Strip have lost their homes and 75 percent of the population have been displaced since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict 200 days ago, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said on Tuesday.

“Destruction is everywhere in Gaza. Damage to critical infrastructure is immense,” UNRWA wrote in a post on X.

In a recorded speech marking the 200th day of the conflict, Abu Ubaida, spokesperson for the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, accused Israel of impeding mediation efforts for a ceasefire.

Israeli media reported on Monday that preparations were underway to expand the humanitarian zone in the Gaza Strip ahead of a possible Israeli attack on the southernmost Gazan city of Rafah.

Rafah is the last refuge for more than 1.4 million Palestinians who were displaced from the northern and central parts of the Gaza Strip.

Source(s): CGTN

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Biden tells Zelenskyy new arms will be provided quickly to Ukraine

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U.S. President Joe Biden told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over phone on Monday that his administration will soon quickly provide additional arms to Ukraine once a bill authorizing related funds clears Congress and becomes law.

“President Biden shared that his administration will quickly provide significant new security assistance packages to meet Ukraine’s urgent battlefield and air defense needs as soon as the Senate passes the national security supplemental and he signs it into law,” the White House said in a readout of the call.

Biden was referring to the $61 billion aid for Ukraine that the House passed Saturday. The measure, now bundled with other foreign aid funding, will be voted on as a comprehensive national security supplemental appropriations bill in the Senate this week, with passage all but certain and Biden pledging to sign it as soon as it reaches his desk.

“President Biden also underscored that the U.S. economic assistance will help maintain financial stability, build back critical infrastructure,” the readout said, adding that the economic assistance will also “support reform as Ukraine moves forward on the path of Euro-Atlantic integration.”

Zelenskyy said on Telegram that the new aid from Washington is expected to strengthen Ukraine’s air defense as well as its long-range and artillery capabilities.

The Ukrainian president also discussed with Biden the work on a bilateral security agreement and the preparations for the Global Peace Summit in Switzerland slated for mid-June, he said.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on X on Saturday that senators have reached an agreement to vote on the national security supplemental on Tuesday.

Source(s): CGTN

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Israel ups pressure on Hamas as UNICEF decries child deaths in Gaza

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday vowed to ramp up military pressure on Hamas, despite the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warning last week that one child was being killed or injured every 10 minutes in the Gaza Strip.

“With one child killed or injured every 10 minutes (in Gaza), above anything else, we need a ceasefire. It is the only way to stop the killing and maiming of children,” UNICEF Communication Specialist Tess Ingram said during a press briefing in Geneva on April 16.

With no breakthrough yet in truce talks between Israel and Hamas, Netanyahu pledged to intensify the military crackdown in Hamas in a video address. “We will strike it with additional painful blows – and this will happen soon,” he said without elaborating on the time and place.

“In the coming days we will increase the military and political pressure on Hamas because this is the only way to free our hostages and achieve our victory.”

The prime minister’s latest remarks came a day after U.S. lawmakers approved $13 billion in new military aid to Israel, even as global criticism mounts over the dire humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu also condemned an anticipated U.S. sanction against a unit of its army forces. “If anyone thinks they can impose sanctions on a unit in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), I will fight it with all my might.”

The Biden administration is slated to announce sanctions against the IDF’s Netzah Yehuda battalion for alleged human rights abuses against Palestinians in the West Bank, which would be the first time the U.S. has ever taken such a step.

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz also urged U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call to reconsider potential sanctions against an Israeli military unit, his office said on Sunday.

Gantz told Blinken that the move would harm Israel’s legitimacy in time of the ongoing Gaza conflict, asserting that “it has no justification because Israel has a strong and independent judicial system.”

Two U.S. officials familiar with the situation said the U.S. announcement could come as soon as Monday, AP reported.

The officials told AP that about five Israeli units were investigated and all but one had been found to have taken action to remedy the violations. The Leahy Law, named for former Senator Patrick Leahy, bars U.S. aid from going to foreign military units that have committed human rights abuses.

The U.S. review was launched before the Israel-Hamas conflict and not connected to recent Israeli actions inside Gaza or the West Bank.

The incidents that were the subject of allegations took place in the West Bank and mostly occurred before the Israel-Hamas conflict, the outlet said.

Before the Gaza conflict, violence had already been on the rise in the West Bank and it has risen since with frequent Israeli raids, Palestinian street attacks and settler rampages in Palestinian villages.

Source(s): CGTN

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