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Joe Biden to travel to Asia for critical quad meeting



U.S President Joe Biden’s first tour of Asia is expected to be dominated by discussions on China, North Korea and Taiwan

U.S leader Joe Biden will travel to Asia this week for the first time in his presidency.

Countering China sits atop President Biden’s list of priorities, as the U.S moves to allay fears their focus in the area has slipped during the current conflict in Ukraine.

Biden’s arrival comes amid a background of simmering tensions in the area. Beijing’s influence over Taiwan will be at the forefront of discussions, as will North Korea’s military capabilities, after reports of a North Korean missile test surfaced this week.

Japan and South Korea will both host the U.S president, who will also meet with leaders of India and Australia at a quad nations summit.

Quad nations meeting

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is a strategic alliance between the U.S, Australia, India and Japan. Various iterations of the dialogue have existed since 2007.

While not a military alliance like NATO, the U.S regards the grouping as key to cementing pro-democratic values throughout Asia.

Reports suggest Biden will highlight issues including COVID vaccines, humanitarian aid, infrastructure development as well as climate, space and cyberscurity.

China’s influence throughout Asia will also be at the forefront of discussions after a tense year of relations between Beijing and the West.

In January this year, Beijing officials threatened to clash with the U.S over Taiwanese independence, and more recently condemned U.S military for sailing through the Taiwanese straight. Which they claim disturbs peace in the area.

Australia-China relations have also come under friction in recent weeks. Last month, Beijing signed a controversial security pact with the Solomon Islands, raising fears China could set up a de-facto military base off Australia’s east coast.

However Australia’s stance with China could be impacted by the impending federal election, which could see a change of government on Saturday.

North Korea

President Biden is also expected to address concerns over North Korea, after the nation conducted another missile test during the week.

Dr. Tillman Ruff told Ticker NEWS North Korea “has embarked on an enormous acceleration of its missile testing.”

“There have been 15 tests so far this year.” He says

Dr. Ruff says it is likely these test were timed to coincide with the election of a new conservative president in South Korea, and while global attention’s were focused on the war in Ukraine.

However, Human Rights Watch has called on Biden and newly elected Korean President Yoon Seok-youl to address North Korea’s human rights record as well as its nuclear capabilities.

North Korea is currently experiencing its first major COVID-19 outbreak, and there are fears the nation, which has not administered vaccines, could be facing a catastrophic death toll.

In a statement on the Human Rights Watch website, Lina Yoon urged the U.S and Korea to persuade Kim Jong-un’s regime to accept foreign aid.

“North Koreans are facing a uniquely acute catastrophe, and the world should make every effort to address it” she says.

Bryan Hoadley Contributed to this post.


India’s ban on single-use plastics comes into effect



India is banning many single-use plastics in a bid to tackle pollution

India produces around four million tonnes of plastic waste each year. But authorities will begin cracking down on usage and production of single-use plastics from Friday.

India’s Government believes 60 per cent of plastic waste is recycled. But a survey by the Centre for Science and Environment found the figure was 12 per cent in 2019.

When plastic waste is not recycled correctly, it creates fire hazards and air pollution, which blankets India’s major cities. It can also enter local waterways, which poisons wildlife.

New Delhi is the world’s most polluted city.

Some plastic bags and multi-layered packaging are exempt from these latest changes.

Millions of people are employed in the country’s plastic industry, with many pushing the government to delay the ban.

Street vendors are also expressing concerns around the changes.

The nation’s capital, New Delhi is the world’s most polluted city.

The Air Quality Institute found 510 million people who live in northern India “on track” to lose 7.6 years off their lives if pollution levels remain as they are.

Local authorities are set to decide the penalties for people in breach of the single-use plastics ban.

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U.K. Government in crisis as Tory whip resigns over sexual assault allegations



Boris Johnson’s government is in crisis as the Tory whip resigned over allegations he groped two men while drunk

In his resignation letter, Chris Pincher admitted he “drank far too much” and embarrassed himself and other people.

“I think the right thing to do in the circumstances is for me to resign as Deputy Chief Whip. I owe it to you and the people I’ve caused upset to, to do this.”


According to sources from Downing Street, it is unlikely Pincher will face any further action, and he will remain as a Conservative MP.

The Sun newspaper first reported the resignation, saying he was drinking at the Carlton Club when he is accused of assaulting two other male guests.

Reports suggest several concerned Tory MPs contacted the Conservative whips’ office to complain about Pincher’s behaviour.

Prime Minister is yet to comment on the matters.

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Beijing issues a stark warning to Canberra



Beijing is warning Australia will “bear the consequences” if there are any military disputes in the South China Sea

China’s Defence Ministry says Australia is engaging in “risky” behaviour, as surveillance jets fly near the disputed Paracel Islands.

“What is the duty of a soldier? That is to defend the homeland,” says Colonel Tan Kefei.

The islands are claimed by China, Vietnam and Taiwan.

It comes just weeks after an Australian Air Force was challenged by a Chinese J-16 fighter in the disputed territory.

A Chinese J-10 fighter, similar to the one involved in the incident.

Australia’s Defence Minister Richard Marles says some aluminium chaff was drawn into the engines of the P-8A Poseidon.

“The J-16 then accelerated and cut across the nose of the P-8 settling in front of the P-8 at a very close distance,” he said.

The aircraft made its way back to its base, and Marles said the crew responded “professionally”.

It’s believed the Chinese jet also fired flares and chaff as a countermeasure.

The Defence Minister said he had communicated his concerns to Chinese authorities over the incident.

But China’s defence spokesperson, Colonel Tan says “those who come uninvited shall bear the consequences.”

Canada has also been in the firing line, as they reportedly carry out U.N. missions near North Korea.

But Chinese authorities believe the jets were monitoring China “under the pretext of enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions”.

“No matter what the name or excuse is, it is completely unreasonable to send military planes to the door of others to provoke and jeopardise the national security of other countries,” says Colonel Tan.

Australia’s Prime Minister met with Canada’s leader, Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Madrid this week.

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