China Imposes Sanctions on Two Major American Defense Companies over U.S. Arms Sales to Taiwan

China has announced sanctions against two major American defense companies in response to U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, further escalating tensions between Beijing and Washington.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan violated agreements between the two countries and interfered with China’s internal affairs. The ministry emphasized that such actions undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, calling the sales a violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of past China-U.S. joint communiqués.

Effective from April 11, 2024, China has imposed sanctions on General Atomics Aeronautical Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems, targeting their senior management and freezing their assets within China. General Dynamics, which operates aviation services in China and manufactures the Abrams tank, faces repercussions for its involvement in the arms sales.

This move by China follows similar sanctions imposed last year on Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Missiles & Defense after their involvement in shooting down a suspected spy balloon flying over U.S. military installations.

Taiwan remains a contentious issue between the U.S. and China, with the former maintaining unofficial diplomatic ties with the island nation. Despite switching official recognition to Beijing in 1979, the U.S. continues to support Taiwan’s defense against potential Chinese aggression.

In recent years, China has intensified its military activities around Taiwan, heightening tensions in the region. The latest sanctions coincide with a visit by the Japanese prime minister to Washington, during which both the U.S. and Japan reiterated their positions on the Taiwan issue.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Mao Ning reiterated China’s stance on the Taiwan question, emphasizing that it is a domestic affair and urging the U.S. and Japan to refrain from interference. She called for concrete actions from the U.S. to align with President Biden’s commitment not to support “Taiwan independence.”

Israel Prepares to Eliminate Iran’s Nuclear Facilities if Iran Launches Retaliatory Attack on Israel

Israel has reportedly indicated that if Iran launches a strike in retaliation for Israel killing a top Iranian general last week, Israel will respond by destroying Iran’s nuclear sites.

The Times of Israel highlighted a report from a London-based Arab news organization this week that cited a “Western security official” who said that Israel has been conducting air force drills in recent days “that include preparing to target Iranian nuclear facilities and other key infrastructure.”

Israel eliminated Mohammed Reza Zahedi, the top commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria, from the battlefield last week as he met with other Iranian commanders and leaders from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group.

The Coalition Council of Islamic Revolution Forces, a staunchly pro-IRGC political group, responded to the strike by praising Zahedi’s “strategic role in forming and strengthening the resistance front as well as in planning and executing” Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack against Israel. (Read more from “Israel Prepares to Eliminate Iran’s Nuclear Facilities if Iran Launches Retaliatory Attack on Israel” HERE)

Zelensky Warns USA: Give Ukraine the Money or Russia Wins!

Kyiv will lose the war against Russia if the U.S. fails to approve military aid to battle Moscow’s invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday.

Tens of billions of dollars in military assistance for Kyiv has been blocked for months in Congress. The package faces resistance from House Republicans.

“It is necessary to specifically tell Congress that if Congress does not help Ukraine, Ukraine will lose the war,” Zelensky said during a video meeting of Kyiv-organised fundraising platform United24, per AFP.

Zelensky said it would be “difficult” for Ukraine to “stay” (survive) without the latest aid on top of an estimated $113 billion already sent to Kyiv at the cost of $900 per American household.

He said that “if Ukraine loses the war, other states will be attacked.” (Read more from “Zelensky Warns USA: Give Ukraine the Money or Russia Wins!” HERE)

Antony Blinken Confirms Ukraine Will Join NATO

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reiterated NATO’s unwavering support for Ukraine’s aspirations to join the defensive alliance.

During a gathering of NATO member states in Brussels to mark the alliance’s 75th anniversary, Blinken emphasized the enduring determination to bolster the country during the Russia-Ukraine War. He declared, “Ukraine will become a member of NATO,” underscoring NATO’s commitment to supporting Ukraine’s defense capabilities and fostering closer ties with the alliance.

Blinken’s statement echoes sentiments expressed by U.S. President Biden and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in previous years, affirming NATO’s stance on Ukraine’s eventual membership. However, Blinken’s remarks also underscore the complexities involved, including the need for Ukraine to meet the criteria for membership, such as not being occupied by a foreign power.

Despite these challenges, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed Blinken’s comments, revealing ongoing efforts within NATO to advance Ukraine’s membership aspirations. Kuleba expressed gratitude for the encouraging messages and highlighted NATO’s commitment to determining the next steps towards Ukraine’s membership.

While formal NATO membership for Ukraine may still be on the horizon, individual member states are forging closer ties through “NATO-lite” arrangements. These agreements, exemplified by recent treaties with Finland and other nations, offer further funding, support, and military aid to Ukraine, in an attempt to bolstering its defense capabilities.

Iran Asks U.S. to ‘Step Aside’ as Plans for Retaliation Mount, Iranian Official Says

Iran asked the United States to not interfere in its plans for retaliation against Israel, an Iranian official alleged Friday.

Mohammad Jamshidi, Iran’s deputy chief of staff for political affairs, claimed in a tweet that this exchange occurred.

“In a written message, the Islamic Republic of Iran warned America not to fall into Netanyahu’s trap: step aside so you don’t get hit. In response, America asked Iran not to hit American targets,” Jamshidi tweeted.

The U.S. warned, as opposed to “asked,” Iran not to use this as a pretext to attack U.S. facilities and personnel, a State Dept. spokesperson told the Daily Caller. The spokesperson confirmed that the U.S. did receive a message from Iran but did not specify the message’s contents.

(Read more from “Iran Asks U.S. to ‘Step Aside’ as Plans for Retaliation Mount, Iranian Official Says” HERE)

Powerful 7.4 Magnitude Earthquake Kills at Least 4 in Taiwan, Causing Buildings to Collapse, Small Tsunami in Japan

At least four people were killed and dozens more injured when a powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan early Wednesday morning.

The quake, which rocked the island just before 8 a.m. local time, downed buildings in Taiwan’s eastern city of Hualien and caused a small tsunami on the coast of Japan’s Yonaguni island, officials said.

The deaths were reported in Hualien, which was the epicenter of the earthquake — the strongest one to hit Taiwan in 25 years, according to the country’s fire department.

At least three of the dead were believed to have been crushed to death by rocks falling from the mountainside.

More than 50 were wounded, according to the country’s fire department. (Read more from “Powerful 7.4 Magnitude Earthquake Kills at Least 4 in Taiwan, Causing Buildings to Collapse, Small Tsunami in Japan” HERE)

Russia’s Financials Are Far Better Than the Wests’; It Could Pay off All External Debt Tomorrow

Russia’s external debt has been falling steadily and reached $326.6bn in December 2023, compared with $322.3bn in the previous quarter and $383.6bn at the end of 2022. It could pay the entire amount off tomorrow – in cash.

The Kremlin has been paying off its external debt. Low external debt means Russia doesn’t need to tap international capital markets so is not vulnerable to any sort of sanctions on bond issues, which are easy to apply and enforce.

Coupled with Russia’s strong current account surplus, which was up to $5.2bn in February from $4.5bn in January, thanks to high oil prices, Russia can fund itself easily on this profit.

At the same time gross international reserves have been rising and are now hovering around $600bn at the end of the first quarter. Half of these reserves are frozen. About $150bn are in monetary gold (up from $135bn pre-war) and the rest in yuan.

Even counting out the frozen funds, Russia can cover its external debt dollar for dollar with cash, whereas everyone in the West is massively leveraged, including the Ukraine where the debt-to-GDP ratio is almost at 100%.

It is these rock-solid fundamentals – no one else in world has even remotely similar metrics – which is the essence of Putin’s Fiscal Fortress. It is a ridiculously strong basis, which means even if the West manages to reduce Russia income from oil and gas exports, it will still have a massive amount of wiggle room.

To see the charts and rest of the article, please click HERE.

Senior NATO Officers, Including Polish General, Reportedly Killed in Russian Strike in Ukraine

[T]he Russians successfully bombed a six-story deep command bunker in Chasiv Yar on March 26.

According to the Russians, the bunker was hit by one or more Iskander missiles. The Iskander is a short-range ballistic missile that can operate at hypersonic speed (Mach 5.9). It has different types of warheads including bunker busters that weigh between 1,000 and 1,500 pounds.

RU POV: Russian FAB bombs hit positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in Novomykhailivka
byu/LordMinax inUkraineRussiaReport

Inside that command center were very senior NATO officers, some of whom were killed, according to Russian reports. One of them was Brigadier General Adam Marczak of the Polish army. . .

Poland reported his death, which the Polish Army said was due to “unexplained natural causes.”

Various Telegraph channels report that other NATO officers were either killed or wounded in the attack at Chasiv Yar. According to these accounts, some of the wounded were hastily evacuated to Poland. We don’t know the names, the ranks or the nationality of any of those killed or wounded other than Marczak. (Read more from “Senior NATO Officers, Including Polish General, Reportedly Killed in Russian Strike in Ukraine” HERE)

Chinese Migrants Infiltrating Guam Military Base Raise Alarms Over National Security: CCP Wants to ‘Exploit’ Every Part of the U.S. Map

In recent years, a troubling trend has emerged in the U.S. territory of Guam, where concerns are mounting over the infiltration of Chinese migrants, raising serious questions about national security. With over 20,000 troops stationed on the island and hosting crucial military installations, Guam has become a focal point in the growing tension between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Since 2022, there has been a notable increase in the number of Chinese nationals illegally entering Guam from the nearby Northern Mariana Islands. This influx poses a significant risk, as it opens avenues for potential CCP influence within the territory. According to reports from Guam’s homeland security agency, there have been 118 documented cases of “unlawful or attempted unlawful entries by Chinese citizens” since 2022, a trend that has raised red flags among top Republican officials.

House Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., has warned that the CCP is adept at exploiting vulnerabilities, and Guam’s strategic importance makes it a prime target for infiltration. He emphasized the critical role Guam plays in defending U.S. interests in the western Pacific and expressed concern over the surge in Chinese nationals entering the island, citing the uncertainty surrounding their intentions.

Green placed blame on the Biden administration for what he perceives as a failure to address the issue effectively, accusing it of displaying weakness that the CCP is quick to exploit. The situation is further exacerbated by the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, where Chinese migrants are reportedly the fastest-growing group being smuggled into the country.

Adding to the complexity is a visa loophole that allows Chinese nationals to visit the Northern Mariana Islands without a visa for up to 14 days.

The infiltration extends beyond Guam, prompting action from top leaders in the Senate. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, has been vocal about the need to address the visa loophole, emphasizing the potential dangers posed by spies gathering intelligence on U.S. military activities.

Ernst, along with Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., penned a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, urging the administration to address the policy loophole. While the administration has touted the economic benefits of the visa program for the Northern Mariana Islands, critics argue that national security concerns must take precedence.

Photo credit: Flickr

World’s Most Dangerous Place to Be Christian Prepares for Easter

Nigeria’s police chief on Thursday ordered around-the-clock enhanced security at public venues across the country throughout the Easter weekend, fearing religious violence in a country where Christians are under almost constant attack.

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Kayode Egbetokun said through a spokesman that extra resources would be devoted to maintaining security at “worship centers, train stations, highways, motor parks, airports, waterways, recreation centers, banks, and other financial institutions, as well as other critical infrastructures and public spaces.”

“The IGP also assures all travelers who will be visiting their hometowns and other places within the country for the festivities of adequate security irrespective of the medium of such travels whether by road, air, waterways, or rail, as deployments have been increased and visibility patrols intensified in all areas including aerial patrol and surveillance,” Egbetokun’s office said.

“As we commemorate the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, let us come together in unity and vigilance to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all,” the statement said.

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) said on Thursday it would deploy 35,000 personnel to protect both Easter crowds and “critical national assets and infrastructure,” including operatives from its anti-vandalism, special intelligence, special female, and special forces squads. (Read more from “World’s Most Dangerous Place to Be Christian Prepares for Easter” HERE)