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Diplomatic War: China fury builds as South Korea reaches out to allies



South Korea has used a political meeting with Australia to show a sign of “comprehensive strategic partnership”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is in Australia’s capital of Canberra, as the two nations upgrade their ties to “comprehensive strategic partnership” status.

High on the agenda was a new $1 billion deal – under which Korean defence company Hanwha will provide 30 self-propelled howitzer artillery weapons to Australia as well as 15 ammunition supply vehicles and radars to detect enemy artillery.

South Korea and Australia sign $1 billion defence deal / Image: File

It’s the largest defence contract struck between Australia and an Asian nation

The new vehicles will be able to quickly fire and move to avoid enemy counterattacks.

Australia’s Defence Minister Peter Dutton touted the deal as a boost for Australian firepower and security in the Indo-Pacific.

“It is one of several projects that will modernise the Australian Army, ensuring it continues to maintain a capability advantage now, and into the future,” the minister said.

“We are committed to keeping our region safe while protecting our interests in a rapidly changing global environment.”

South Korea will supply Australia with 15 ammunition supply vehicles / Image: AMR

This week’s visit, which coincides with the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations, will see Australian and Korean ties elevated to the status of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

The new deal shows a sign of increasing tensions from China, which is becoming an increasing threat to Western Nations, typically surrounding Taiwan.

Beijing claims self-ruled Taiwan as its own and has threatened to use force if necessary to unify the two sides.

The country’s claim has held since the Chinese civil war of the 1940s, when Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist government reestablished on the island after losing to Mao Zedong’s Communists. Most Taiwanese prefer to maintain the status quo, according to a National Chengchi University poll.

A straight-up military invasion would cost lives and activate U.S. forces for Taiwan’s defence

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

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TikTok CEO testifies as U.S. considers nationwide ban



FBI says TikTok threatens U.S. national security

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified in Washington D.C. on Thursday.

The hours-long fiery hearing on Capitol Hill was incredibly tense as Chew was grilled by both Republicans and Democrats.

With bipartisan support, both parties are pushing for a nationwide ban on the app which the FBI has said threatens the national security of the United States.

TikTok says it has 150 million America users – almost half the country.

The CEO gave testimony to try and reassure lawmakers and Americans that TikTok is not an agent of the Chinese Communist Party, but critics aren’t convinced.

Chew was bombarded with questions from representatives from both sides of the aisle about the company’s ties to the CCP, security, data storage, well-being, and mental health. 

Many lawmakers are growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of answers from the company.

Congress is now weighing a nationwide ban on the popular social media platform amid concerns that it is used to harvest Americans’ information and harm children online.

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Protests continue across France over pension reforms



Protestors blocked a terminal at an airport and sat on train tracks

The ongoing nationwide protests in France over plans by the government to raise the retirement age by two years saw another day of disruption – events which President Emmanuel Macron has recently compared to the storming of the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters two years ago.

Protestors blocked a terminal at Paris’s Charles De Gaulle airport.

Protesters also sat on train tracks, and reportedly triggered a brief fire in the yard of a police station in once city.

Protests have been mostly peaceful, but tear gas has been used against them on occasions.

The plan is to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

For comparison, the U.S. is slowly raising its retirement age to 67 and the UK plans to go to 68.

Polls have long shown that a majority of voters in France oppose the move.

Macron earlier in the week said he was standing firm on the law and that it would come into effect by the end of the year.

The government says the change is needed to keep pension budgets from running a deficit – failure would create an annual deficit of about $14 billion by 2030.

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Prosecutors allege Donald Trump misled people on potential arrest



The move prompted Republicans in Congress to interfere with the course of justice

Manhattan prosecutors say Donald Trump has misled people to expect he would be arrested, prompting Republicans in Congress to interfere with the course of justice.

A probe is currently under way into his alleged hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.

On Saturday, the former President said he would be arrested on Tuesday.

This saw three Republicans launching an offensive against the District Attorney, who is a Democrat.

They accused him of abusing authority, while also seeking communications, documents and testimony.

A grand jury hearing evidence in the Stormy Daniels case is yet to issue an arrest warrant for Trump.

The attorney’s office has since sent the committee chairmen a letter.

It says the lawmakers’ accusations “only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation he would be arrested”.

It also confirms the attorney’s office is “investigating allegations that Donald Trump engaged in violations of New York State penal law.”

If indicted, Trump would be the first U.S. President to face criminal charges.

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