Weekly Round Up 26 Feb – 5 March

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American Carrier Group makes Port in Vietnam

Who?  US Carrier Strike Group 1

What? Visiting Vietnam / show of strength in order to foster cooperation

Where?  Danang, Vietnam

Why is it important, relevant, worth consideration or keeping an eye on?
This is the first time since the end of the Vietnam war that an American strike group of this size and caliber has made port in Vietnam.  It sends a clear signal to China of Vietnam’s growing cooperation with the United States in the on-going tense situation in the South China Sea. Although you might think that Vietnam and China would be close partners, China’s territorial claims in the region clash with those of Vietnam. China and Vietnam have a long history of animosity.

This situation is likely to cause a shift in the balance of power in the region. Such a shift could lead to severe outcomes, the worst of which would be a full blown armed conflict between the various nations with claims in the South China Sea.

BBC Article by Jonathan Head on the topic:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-43282558

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Taiwan heating up with China

Who?  Taiwan, U.S. or China

What? Taiwan ties with U.S.

Where?  Taipei, Taiwan

Why is it important, relevant, worth consideration or keeping an eye on?
Taiwan is seen as an integral part of China, Taiwan talks with the U.S. have only increased tensions between the President Tsai and Beijing. Animosity in Taiwan for Beijing has been on the rise since 2016. Some are calling for the formal independence of Taiwan. Chinese military exercises clearly demonstrate the influence Beijing wishes to exert in the region, which in turn only exacerbates an already delicate balance of power in the whole region. Some voices in Beijing promise to follow through with “targeted measures” against the pro independence movement in Taiwan.

Reuters World Article by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee, highlighting some of the issues:
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-usa-taiwan/china-warns-taiwan-playing-with-fire-over-u-s-bill-idUSKCN1GE039

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Nationalist Italy on the Rise

Who? Far Right Parties

What? Win unprecedented majority in General Election

Where?  Italy

Why is it important, relevant, worth consideration or keeping an eye on?
The results of the General Election in Italy are a watershed moment for Italian politics. With two Euro-sceptical parties winning a majority of the vote, Italy has set itself on a collision course with the European Union.

It remains unclear whether the “Five Star Movement” and the far right “Northern League” will form a coalition. Although the campaign promises of the nationalist Five Star Movement to clean up Italian politics and give a voice to those who have long felt unrepresented sound promising, only time will tell what the outcomes of this general election really mean for Italy.

Article for the Atlantic by Rachel Donadio:
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/italy-election-european-union/554900/

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