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U.S. military concerned about increasing risk of Chinese action against Taiwan

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Screenshot 2020 04 07 14.42.46

The U.S. military is warning that China is probably speeding up its timetable for taking control of Taiwan, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

“We have indications that the risks are actually going up,” Adm. Philip Davidson, the highest ranking U.S. military commander in the Asia-Pacific region, said last month, referring to a potential Chinese military action against the island nation, according to the AP.

“The threat is manifest during this decade — in fact, in the next six years,” Davidson also said.

Adm. John Aquilino, Davidson’s expected successor, declined to back up the six-year timeframe. However, according to the AP, he said at his confirmation hearing last month: “My opinion is, this problem is much closer to us than most think.”

He also said a “likely” future invasion of Taiwan by China was of “critical concern”.

Due to mounting tensions, the USS John S. McCain ventured into the Taiwan strait on Wednesday, according to Focus Taiwan. This is the fourth time a U.S. warship has sailed through the strait since President Joe Biden took office in January, according to the outlet.

According to Reuters, China has been performing fighter jet flyovers in Taiwanese airspace and a carrier group of its has drilled near Taiwan.

While Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Wednesday said the military threat is growing, he noted it was not yet “particularly alarming”. The Chinese military in has been performing “real combat-type” exercises nearer to the island in recent years, Wu also said, according to the AP.

“We are willing to defend ourselves, that’s without any question,” Wu also said. “We will fight a war if we need to fight a war, and if we need to defend ourselves to the very last day, then we will defend ourselves to the very last day.”

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China’s military must be “prepared to respond” to numerous security situations amid rising instability and uncertainty, the South China Morning Post reported.

Biden late last month during his first formal press conference said the U.S. and its allies will “hold China accountable to follow the rules,” according to NBC News.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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China Says It’s Ready for Monkeypox and the West Isn’t

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As the Western press is becoming more and more concerned with monkeypox outbreaks, a recent bombshell report shows that Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in China manipulated monkeypox to be more contagious in humans. This follows more evidence that the WIV had been experimenting with bat coronaviruses to increasingly infect humans.

But rather than agree to an honest investigation into the WIV and its role in spreading contagion around the world, China is once again trying to sell us an alternative reality. According to Chinese state-run media, it is China that is once again poised to be humanity’s savior and darling when it comes to fighting monkeypox, much like COVID-19. Not only that, but CCP press reporting shows evidence of China having an eerily well advanced infrastructure and gameplan to fight monkeypox. The West in contrast is not prepared, according to China.

Claim #1: China has the Wisdom to Fight Monkeypox

First, Chinese state-run media portray China as in a good position to combat monkeypox due to wisdom gleaned from combating COVID-19 and smallpox. One Global Times article noted that “[i]n the very early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, China has taken the measures of ‘early identification, reporting, isolation, diagnosis and treatment.’ Under such guidance, China has become one of the most successful countries in the COVID fight.” Another Global Times article cites a World Health Organization official as stating that “China’s COVID-19 control measures in place and largely reduced international arrivals minimize the risks of contagion in China.” A third Global Times article, citing “experts,” claims that “China’s successful experience in eliminating smallpox would also help the country act if monkeypox enters China’s borders…”

Claim #2: Chinese Healthcare Infrastructure Is Well Prepared to Deal with Monkeypox

China is well ahead of the game in dealing with monkeypox, according to Chinese state-run media. Chinese experts “suggest preparation of testing and treatment capacities in advance” to proactively combat monkeypox, according to Global Times. And “drug research should start early so that China can still control [monkeypox] should it assume pandemic proportions,” according to China Daily.

China is apparently quite far along in this “preparation” and “research.”

There are “several” Chinese manufacturers that have already made monkeypox nucleic acid test kits, and that these “can be quickly put into mass production and on the domestic market once approved by the government,” according to a second Global Times article.  This article also states that Chinese manufacturer Liferiver Bio-Tech has a nucleic acid test that has already been ordered in China and abroad.

This same article also states that vaccine development faces “no technological problems” and a vaccine can be produced in China in a year if China’s drug administration administers “a rapid special review.” China’s CDC also has already stockpiled “millions” of doses of smallpox vaccine, produced “an emergency response technical plan on monkeypox, stocked monkeypox detection reagents, and conducted training on monkeypox nucleic acid PCR testing for provincial and municipal CDC professionals.”

Mirroring its earlier “mask diplomacy” for COVID-19, it looks like China is beginning to export its healthcare to the world to help combat monkeypox. China’s Sansure Biotech is ready to register its nucleic acid test kit for monkeypox abroad, according to Global Times. And Jiangsu Bioperfectus Technologies has already has its Monkeypox Virus Real Time PCR Kits in the international market, according to Global Times.

Claim #3: The West is Ill-Equipped to Handle Monkeypox

On the other hand, Chinese media portrays the West as ill-equipped to handle monkeypox. For example, according to one Global Times editorial, “[t]he COVID pandemic that killed more than 1 million people in the US has given a tragic lesson to the US and the West, but it still remains to be seen to what extent the US and the West learned from it.” The West’s “conspiracy theories” and “panic” contributed to the “Western countries’ poor response to COVID-19.” That CCP editorial also pontificates that “[i]t is hoped that Western countries hit by monkeypox can do a good job in responding to the outbreak. They should not misjudge the virus with outdated perceptions…”

Claim #4: Current Monkeypox spread originated from outside China

Chinese media avoids the possibility that this current monkeypox outbreak could have originated in China. One Global Times article claims that there have been no cases of monkeypox reported in China, and that China faces a threat from monkeypox due to the cases being “outside known epidemic areas of Africa.” The fact that many countries have now lifted bans against international travel is the culprit for increased risk of monkeypox transmission, according to anonymous source within the Chinese CDC as mentioned in that same article. Another Global Times article stated that China could quarantine inbound international travellers “if necessary.”

The CCP propaganda machine is at it again.  Much like it tries to portray itself as a leader in fighting COVID-19, China is beginning to run a similar propaganda campaign for monkeypox. China is using COVID-19, and increasingly now monkeypox, as vehicles to curry favor and deflect responsibility for spreading contagion around the world, and to grow markets for healthcare technology and supplies.

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