Japan sees increasing threat to Taiwan amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Japan’s defence ministry has said it is alarmed at fresh threats from Russia and has growing worries about Taiwan, in an annual report that comes as Tokyo considers significantly increasing military spending. The document includes a chapter on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which it says risks sending the message “that an attempt to unilaterally change the status quo by force is acceptable”. The paper, released on Friday, surveys the global security landscape and specific threats to Japan, and says there was concern Russia could “further enhance and deepen relationships with…

Putin’s Threats Highlight the Dangers of a New, Riskier Nuclear Era

WASHINGTON — The old nuclear order, rooted in the Cold War’s unthinkable outcomes, was fraying before Russia invaded Ukraine. Now, it is giving way to a looming era of disorder unlike any since the beginning of the atomic age. Russia’s regular reminders over the past three months of its nuclear might, even if largely bluster, were the latest evidence of how the potential threat has resurfaced in more overt and dangerous ways. They were enough to draw a pointed warning to Moscow on Tuesday from President Biden in what amounted…

Your Thursday Briefing: Turkey’s NATO Block

Good morning. We’re covering Turkey’s move to stall NATO’s expansion, North Korea’s effort to follow China’s pandemic restrictions and China’s new tactic to censor online speech. Will Turkey block NATO’s expansion? Finland and Sweden formally asked to join NATO on Wednesday, heralding what could be the alliance’s biggest expansion in decades, and one that would increase its presence on Russia’s doorstep. But later in the day, Turkey, a NATO member, blocked an initial effort to move ahead quickly with the applications. Analysts said it was an attempt to squeeze out…

Your Wednesday Briefing: Beijing’s Mass Testing Plan

Good morning. We’re covering Beijing’s scramble to quash the Omicron variant, Germany’s pivot to supplying Ukraine with heavy weaponry and a brownface controversy roiling Hong Kong. Mass testing in Beijing Faced with a growing number of coronavirus infections across Beijing, city officials are trying to test most of the Chinese capital’s 22 million residents in the hope of avoiding the pain of imposing a citywide lockdown like in Shanghai. Beijing is ordering mass testing across the city more quickly than in Shanghai, where officials started testing on a similar scale…

Your Friday Briefing: Biden Releases Oil Reserves

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Good morning. We’re covering global energy challenges, missile deception in North Korea and the wild world of Wikipedia. War roils global energy access On Thursday, the White House announced a plan to release up to 180 million barrels of oil from U.S. strategic reserves, the largest release since it was created, hoping to push gas prices down. Oil prices, which had been surging since the fighting in Ukraine began, fell modestly on expectations of the announcement. But diesel prices are still soaring. At the same time, OPEC and its allies,…

Your Monday Briefing: Ukraine Agrees to Talks

Good morning. We’re covering diplomacy and posturing in Ukraine, research into the pandemic’s origins and another North Korean missile test. Ukraine agrees to Russian talks President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine agreed to talks with Russia “without preconditions” on the Belarusian border. Just before the announcement, President Vladimir Putin issued a new threat to the West, telling the Russian military to put its nuclear forces on alert. Western powers are uniting around Ukraine. The E.U. said it would close its airspace to Russian planes and finance the donation of weapons. Turkish…

North Korea Says It Will Skip Beijing Olympics Because of the Pandemic

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SEOUL — North Korea said on Friday that it would not participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic and moves by “hostile forces.” Its no-show at the Beijing ​Games would deprive South Korea of a rare opportunity to establish official contact with the ​North. Officials from the South had hoped that the ​Olympics would provide a venue for​ official delegates from both Koreas to meet to discuss issues beyond sports. In a letter hand-delivered on Wednesday to China by the North’s ambassador, the country’s Olympic Committee…

Your Monday Briefing: South Africa’s Parliament Burns

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Good morning. We’re covering a fire in South Africa’s Parliament, a breach in the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea, and possible changes to women’s rights in China. South Africa’s parliament burns A large fire damaged much of the Houses of Parliament on Sunday. Officials warned that the damage to the historic complex would be extensive. Officials said the fire spread from an office space on the third floor of a building adjacent to the old National Assembly building. Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service spokesman warned that…