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Nancy Pelosi meets with Taiwanese President

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U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi meets with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s meets with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-web as tensions with China soar.

Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan has created a storm of controversy, and captivated the world’s attention.

The third highest-ranking American official is leading a Congressional delegation on a tour of the Indo-Pacific.

Pelosi has scheduled stops in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

But it’s the unannounced visit to Taiwan— the independently governed Island—that’s stealing the spotlight.

Word of Pelosi’s trip did not sit well with China, as Beijing views Taiwan as part of its territory.

China considers any trip by a high-ranking American official as confirmation of U.S. support for the Island’s independence.

The U.S. does not have official relations with Taiwan — also known as the Republic of China — and maintains a One China Policy.

This policy recognises the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate successor nation.

However, America has been stepping up engagement with the Island as China seeks to isolate it from global institutions.

Shortly after Pelosi touched down, the Taiwan Bureau of Foreign Trade confirmed China  suspended imports from Taiwanese companies. 

The companies produce pastries, baked goods and sweets and the suspension appears to be a retaliatory policy meant to put pressure on the island.

The Chinese military posted a propaganda video of its troops launching missiles, grabbing weapons, and taking off in fighter jets ahead of the Speaker’s visit to the region.

Back in Washington, the Pentagon’s John Kirby said Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan doesn’t violate any sovereignty issues.

Veronica Dudo is the U.S. Correspondent for Ticker News covering America’s biggest headlines. As an Emmy® Award nominated global journalist, Veronica has traveled across the country and around the world reporting on historical events that connect all citizens. Lauded as an award-winning international journalist, Veronica has executed stellar news coverage for NBC News, CBS News, The Hill, ME-TV Network and AOL. Her stories have highlighted a plethora of topics ranging from breaking news and politics to economic affairs across the USA, European Union, and Asia; cultural affairs; globalization; governance; education; and sustainability.

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Ukraine expects Russian offensive this month

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Ukraine expects a possible major Russian offensive this month, but Kyiv has the reserves to hold back Moscow’s forces even though the latest Western military supplies will not all arrive in time

 
Russia could launch the new attack for ‘symbolic’ reasons around the first anniversary of its invasion, but its resources are not ready from a military point of view, Defence minister Oleksii Reznikov told a news conference.

“Despite everything, we expect a possible Russian offensive in February. This is only from the point of view of symbolism; it’s not logical from a military view. Because not all of their resources are ready. But they’re doing it anyway,” he said.

Russian forces have been making incremental advances in the east as Moscow tries to capture the embattled city of Bakhmut and revive its faltering invasion after a string of battlefield setbacks in the second half of last year.

Reznikov said the offensive would likely be launched in the east – where Russia is trying to capture all the heavily-industrialised Donbas region – or the south where it wants to widen its land corridor to the occupied peninsula of Crimea.

He estimated that Russia had 12,000 troops in Belarusian military bases, a number that would not be enough to launch a significant attack from Belarus into Ukraine’s north, reopening a new front.

The United States and other Western governments have pledged billions of dollars in new military assistance including tanks and infantry fighting vehicles to help Ukraine withstand a new attack as well as to help Kyiv launch a counteroffensive.

“Not all of the Western weaponry will arrive in time. But we are ready. We have created our resources and reserves, which we are able to deploy and with which we are able to hold back the attack,” Reznikov said.

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China describes spy balloon saga as ‘overreaction’

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China has strongly opposed the U.S. approach to the suspected spy balloon that was shot down – describing it as an overreaction

 
They also once again explained that this was a civilian airship that was simply monitoring the weather and was blown astray into US airspace.

These are claims that Washington have disputed.

It has been interesting to watch China’s reaction throughout this affair.

On Friday, when they first admitted that this balloon belonged to them, Beijing were apologetic and said they regretted how it had ended up in US territory.

It was an uncharacteristic approach from China who are usually more aggressive in these statements.

But as time passed, Beijing’s tone changed and they started to accuse U.S. politicians and the media of using this incident as a way of attacking China.

This affair has now renewed tensions between these two global superpowers, with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken cancelling his much-anticipated trip to Beijing at the last minute.

Although his visit was largely seen as symbolic – as opposed to making any substantive policy breakthroughs – it was still seen as another big step in repairing relations between China and the U.S.

Instead, face-to-face talks have been cancelled and it looks likely that it will now be some time before Secretary Blinken makes the journey to Beijing.

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Blaze burns down Buddhist temple in Australia

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A massive blaze burnt down a Buddhist temple in Australia

Footage shows fire engulfing Melbourne’s Bright Moon Buddhist Society Temple on Sunday evening.

More than 80 firefighters battled the blaze into the night as the fire quickly spread throughout the building.

It’s not yet known if anyone was inside when the fire started.

Roads in the surrounding area are closed as investigations into the cause of the fire are underway.

The temple is understood to draw thousands of visitors to the area each year.

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