Doctors have taken samples of their bodily fluids to be tested again. The results were likewise expected on Friday afternoon, the spokesperson said.The government planned to continue tracing people suspected of having been in contact with the first two confirmed patients in order to prevent the emergence of new subclusters.”So, from the Jakarta cluster, it is very possible that there will be subclusters. The four people suspected [of having COVID-19] belong to different groups. From the dancing group, they went home and came into contact with their other groups. We’re tracing [these groups]. Hopefully we can trace them all,” he said.Yurianto said the ministry would observe the 10 people identified to be part of the Jakarta cluster. He claimed the 10 people did not complain of any symptoms related to COVID-19, but the ministry would continue observing them to ensure there had been no transmission.Indonesia had tested 227 samples from people as of Thursday evening. Of the total number of samples tested, two were found to be positive, 13 were still awaiting results, with their providers in isolation at various hospitals, while the rest came out negative. (ars)Topics : The four people, Yurianto said, were currently being observed at a hospital, adding that samples of their bodily fluids had been tested at the ministry’s laboratory. The results were expected on Friday afternoon.“Their conditions are stable. Some of them suffer from cough and flu. Some also have a body temperature higher than 37 [degrees Celsius], […] meaning that they have a fever,” said Yurianto, who also serves as the spokesperson for the management of the virus outbreak.Meanwhile, he added that cases 1 and 2, who are undergoing treatment in isolation at the Sulianti Saroso Infectious Disease Hospital, were also in stable condition, although they still suffered from bouts of coughing. Read also: We should thank Indonesia’s COVID-19 ‘Case 1’ instead of breaching her privacy The Health Ministry has identified four individuals suspected of having been infected by the COVID-19 coronavirus after the ministry traced as many as 25 people who had contact with the country’s first two confirmed cases.The ministry’s disease control and prevention directorate general secretary, Achmad Yurianto, said during a press briefing on Friday at noon that the four people had been in close contact with two confirmed patients, known as Case 1 and Case 2.They attended the same dance as Case 1 in mid-February in Jakarta. Case 1 contracted the virus from a Japanese woman who tested positive in Malaysia in late February.
“The data consists of workers, informal workers and laid-off workers in tourism, as well as workers from the creative economy, such as artists, performers and members or employees of various television and film associations,” he said.According to the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister, which spearheads the national committee for job creation, the preemployment program had garnered 1.4 million applicants just a day after registration opened on Saturday.The government has doubled its budget for the program to about Rp 20 trillion (US$1.27 billion) to upskill about 5.6 million workers who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.Participants of the preemployment card program will undergo training for four months and each will receive Rp 3.5 million; Rp 1 million for training costs, monthly pocket money worth Rp 600,000 for four months and Rp 150,000 for survey expenses. The money will be transferred to their bank accounts or to their digital wallets, such as GoPay and LinkAja. The COVID-19 pandemic has left tourist destinations across the county empty of visitors. Many hotels have been temporarily closed due to a lack of guests.As of Wednesday, 1,266 hotels have temporarily halted operations, according to Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHR) chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani.Of those, 844 hotels have registered 74,100 of their former employees for the preemployment card program.“Many hotels have not provided data on their former employees. We’re worried that many hotels don’t really care about their former employees, who really needed help getting new jobs,” Hariyadi said.He added that collecting data on affected workers in the hotel and restaurant industry alone was challenging as many businesses were lagging in providing the PHRI the necessary information. Meanwhile, the association also needed time to review and verify the data before submitting it to the government. “So, the data collection process has been pretty slow,” he said on Wednesday.Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies (ASITA) chairman Nunung Rusmiati also said that ASITA’s 7,000 members had been trying not to lay off workers, even though the outbreak had crippled their business.Many association members have decided to keep their workers but carry out extra cost-efficiency measures, such as cutting salaries by 50 percent, in order to survive.“If we don’t cut their salaries, we would really struggle […] We are also offering employees unpaid leave,” Nunung said.According to Hariyadi, who is also chairman of the Indonesia Employers Association (Apindo), amusement parks and zoos have also been greatly affected by COVID-19. With almost no visitors, many have not been able to operate, which leaves their workers and animals at risk. “We hope that this sector will also receive attention from the government.” Nearly 190,000 former tourism workers will join the government’s preemployment card program, which was established to help terminated employees find new jobs, a minister has said.Indonesia’s tourism has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak, which has shut down borders and put a halt to global travel.The data on people who previously worked in hotels and other tourism-related companies across Indonesia is taken from related business associations and organizations, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said in Jakarta on Sunday. Topics :
Croatia’s Borna Coric announced on Monday he has tested positive for coronavirus after playing in an exhibition tournament in Croatia featuring world number one Novak Djokovic.”Hi everyone, I wanted to inform you all that I tested positive for COVID-19,” the top 50 player posted on Twitter.On Sunday, another player, Grigor Dimitrov, said he had also tested positive after pulling out of the exhibition event. Coric said: “I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during the last few days gets tested!”I am really sorry for any harm I might have caused! I’m feeling well and don’t have any symptoms [sic]. Please stay safe and healthy! Lots of love to all!”Coric had beaten Dimitrov in the second leg of the Adria Tour in Zadar on Croatia’s Adriatic coast on Saturday.Dimitrov withdrew from the Balkans tournament following that match, complaining of feeling unwell, and on Sunday announced he had tested positive.Sunday’s final between Djokovic and Russia’s Andrey Rublev was immediately cancelled as a precaution. Topics :
“Whilst Manchester City and its legal advisors are yet to review the full ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Club welcomes the implications of today’s ruling as a validation of the Club’s position and the body of evidence that it was able to present,” City said in a statement.”The Club wishes to thank the panel members for their diligence and the due process that they administered,” the club added.UEFA said it remained committed to FFP.”UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the 5 year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations.”Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA [European Club Association] remain committed to its principles.” Manchester City’s two-year suspension from European football was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday, allowing the club to compete in next season’s Champions League.CAS ruled that City did not breach Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules by disguising equity funding as sponsorship. Sport’s highest court also reduced a fine for failing to cooperate with UEFA to 10 million euros ($11.30 million) from 30 million euros.”Most of the alleged breaches reported by the (UEFA) Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB (Club Financial Control Body)were either not established or time-barred,” CAS said in a statement. UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, had ruled in February that City had committed serious FFP breaches and failed to cooperate with its investigation.Missing out on the Champions League would have cost City, who have denied any wrongdoing, as much as 100 million pounds ($126.02 million) in prize money and broadcast revenue, as well as matchday and other revenues.The FFP regulations are designed to stop clubs running up big losses through spending on players. They also ensure sponsorship deals are based on their real market value and are genuine commercial agreements — and not ways for owners to pump cash into a club to get around the rules.CAS said its full legal ruling, with details of the case and the decision, would be published in the coming days. Topics :
And while a regular-sized latte costs around 30 yuan ($4.24) in China, it can be as cheap as 4.5 yuan ($0.60) at some places with the use of discount vouchers.This year’s admission by delivery-focused and coupon-reliant Luckin Coffee that it fabricated $310 million in sales underscores how the coffee opportunity in China has been exaggerated, analysts said.”Luckin’s fraud proved that even though coffee in China is almost free, the Chinese still don’t drink much of it,” said Beijing-based independent analyst Keso Hong.Tea countryTea is China’s main source of caffeine and outside of China’s biggest cities, buying a branded caffeinated drink to get through the day is not part of everyday life.Bubble tea, which contains tapioca pearls, is also giving coffee a run for its money. Food delivery giant Meituan Dianping received 210 million orders for bubble tea in 2018, “far more than” coffee, it has said without elaborating.Like Luckin, other domestic chains are struggling to fulfill big dreams.Coffee Box, which focuses on coffee deliveries and raised some $56 million in funding, has shut or suspended business at dozens of its stores. Grey Box, which offers specialty coffee, said in 2018 it wanted 12 stores in Beijing by end of that year, but has just four. Bruno Caffe has closed most stores and only two remain.Among western firms, Britain’s Costa Coffee, which is owned by Coca-Cola, has 300 China stores according to its website, despite earlier ambitions to have had 2,500 by 2018.The chains did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.Starbucks, the first big Western brand in the market and now with 20 years in China under its belt, appears to be the only resounding success, having carefully cultivated its image as a premium cafe for young professionals. Some estimates put the US giant’s share of China’s coffee market at as much as 80%.Just this week, Starbucks expanded its Chinese ordering services to multiple Alibaba apps.The newcomers have, however, wisely decided not to go it alone.Lavazza has formed a venture with Yum China, the owner of KFC restaurants in China. Restaurant Brands International’s Tim Hortons said last year it wanted 1,500 stores in China and has gained backing from Tencent Holdings. Wayne’s Coffee signed a 15-year deal with a Chinese master franchisee.The chains did not respond to requests for comment on their prospects.But even teaming up with a partner is no guarantee of success given the extreme competition, analysts said.”Undoubtedly the coffee market in China will continue to grow and consumers are becoming more habitual coffee drinkers but it is still a hard market to win,” said Ben Cavender at China Market Research.Topics : As a coffee market, China exerts a magnetic pull for Western brands keen to emulate the success of Starbucks Corp which has over 4,400 stores in China and is still expanding. Since last year, Canada’s Tim Hortons has opened about 60 stores in China while Italy’s Lavazza and Sweden’s Wayne’s Coffee have also made forays into the market.Much of the optimism about China’s coffee market potential stems from just how little its consumers drink – just 5.4 cups per capita last year, compared to 341 in the United States and 591 in Western Europe, according to consultancy Euromonitor.Chinese coffee consumption is growing at an estimated rate of around 5% annually, but coffee shop proprietors like Huang say it is more important to take note of the huge jump in outlets and cut-throat pricing.Store openings of specialist coffee and tea shops surged 50% in 2018 and 2019, and China now has some 18,350 stores, more than triple the number in 2014, according to Euromonitor. Coffee is also now sold at many convenience stores and fast-food restaurants. Looking outside her Beijing coffee shop where seven other nearby cafes including a Starbucks compete for customers, Huang Ying is simply glad to still be in business.In the 17 years since opening her cafe in the trendy 798 Art Zone district, making money has gotten harder – even before the coronavirus. Rent and labor costs have increased while rival after rival waded into a market that has failed to live up to expectations.”Our profit can’t compare with the old days,” she said. “I raised prices by 10% in 2017 but that has done little to offset the jump in costs.”
Topics : Algeria Algerians spent a bleak Eid el Adha festival under a strict lockdown that discouraged family visits and banned movement into or out of 29 of the country’s 48 wilayas (prefectures).The nation is the fifth worst-hit in Africa in terms of infections — a surge in the past few weeks has brought the total to over 33,000.Algeria has the continent’s third highest number of fatalities at 1,273, after South Africa and Egypt.The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the country’s economy, which is also facing the collapse of fossil-fuel prices. EgyptEgypt became the first African country to report a coronavirus case on February 14. So far, it has officially registered the continent’s second highest number of cases, with 95,000, including 4,630 deaths. Numbers of daily new infections have recently been falling steadily. From an average of 1,500 previously, new cases plunged below 200 this week.Jihane al-Assal, who heads the government’s anti-coronavirus scientific panel, told a TV talk show “Egypt has passed the peak of the pandemic”.At the weekend she announced the gradual closure of isolation hospitals, while assuring that the government was “preparing” for a potential second wave of the pandemic.However, the country’s health system has been severely strained and came close to “collapsing”, according to the doctors’ union, which recorded at least 134 deaths among its members due to COVID-19.A curfew imposed in March was lifted at the end of June. Regular domestic and international air traffic resumed on July 1 and tourism, a key income generator for the country, is slowly picking up. The World Health Organization (WHO) said Thursday some countries have recently seen declines of around 20 percent in daily cases but it was too early to confirm this as a trend, while around 10 countries are still experiencing increases.Countries with high infections relative to the size of their populations are South Africa, Djibouti, Gabon, Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe.Here is an overview of key countries: Nigeria Around 45,000 cases have been recorded in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, and more than 900 deaths.In June, the daily caseload rose by between 500 and 800 but latterly has dropped to between 300 and 400.Authorities say they are also gearing for a likely second wave as restrictions are eased. “New rise in cases are to be expected,” said the chief of the presidential task force on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha.Nigeria carries out only 3,000 tests per day, about a tenth of the number in South Africa, which has a much smaller population of 58 million.The epicenter is the commercial hub of Lagos with a population of 20 million. The authorities are loosening lockdown restrictions, allowing churches and mosques to re-open. South Africa The continent’s most industrialized economy has notched up more than 529,000 infections, 53 percent of the continental caseload, and the fifth biggest in the world.The good news is that numbers of daily infections have slightly decreased in recent days to below 10,000 cases compared to an average 12,000 during much of July.Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said on Tuesday that cases in the epicenter, the commercial hub of Gauteng province, appeared to be plateauing. But he warned the risk of a second wave remained: “we are not out of the woods yet”.South Africa imposed one of the world’s toughest lockdowns in March, including a ban on sales of alcohol and cigarettes. The restrictions have been progressively eased since June.The country has some of the best healthcare facilities on the continent, but the World Health Organization (WHO) this week deployed 43 experts to “strengthen” the nation’s response to the pandemic.Among its problems: more than 24,000 health workers have been infected — a tally bigger than the national caseload of many other African countries. Ethiopia Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, has seen a sharp upward trend with infections doubling in less than three weeks in July.It has so far recorded more than 20,000 cases and over 365 deaths.The figures are small relative to a population of 110 million, but the WHO frets unrest sparked by the killing of a pop star from the Oromo ethnic group could further accelerate transmission.The upward spiral is coinciding with mounting signs of virus fatigue.Once-ubiquitous hand-washing stations are becoming scarcer.Hitherto-empty restaurants are filling up, and even some health workers say they are struggling to maintain the same vigilance they had in March.Around three-quarters of all COVID-19 cases in Ethiopia are in the capital Addis Ababa. Coronavirus has now infected more than a million people in Africa, but hopes that the pandemic may be peaking in some countries are also leavened by fear of a second wave.Nations across the continent have recorded 1,000,054 infections and at least 21,724 deaths, accounting for around five percent of global cases, according to an AFP tally as of Thursday.Just five countries account for 75 percent of all cases in Africa, the continent’s health watchdog, the Africa Centers for Diseases Control, says. Zimbabwe Zimbabwe is among the countries where daily infections are steadily rising: numbers of diagnosed cases doubled over 10 days last month and now stand at 4,200, including 81 fatalities.The impoverished country is in a particularly precarious position. The health system is struggling with shortages of basic drugs and equipment, as well as an overburdened and underpaid staff.Nurses countrywide have been on a go-slow for months demanding improved remuneration and coronavirus protective gear. They have since been joined by senior and junior doctors.Burying a minister who died from COVID-19, President Emmerson Mnanagwa pleaded with health workers to act responsibly, promising their grievances will be addressed but not “at the expense of the loss of lives”. “When the pandemic spreads and the death toll rises there are no winners, none at all. We all die,” he said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the nation’s longest serving premier, visited a Tokyo hospital on Monday as concerns deepened about his ability to continue in his post due to health issues and fatigue from handling the coronavirus crisis.Here are key elements of Abe’s record since returning to office in December 2012. He ended a first troubled 2006-2007 term as premier by quitting abruptly, citing ill health.COVID-19 response, scandals “Abenomics”Abe’s signature “Abenomics” policies of bold monetary easing and fiscal spending encountered headwinds last year as a US-China trade war hit exports and a sales tax rise hurt business and consumer sentiment.Now the pandemic has hit Japan with its biggest economic slump on record. A third straight quarter of declines knocked real gross domestic product (GDP) to decade-low levels, wiping out the benefits of “Abenomics”.Critics have also said Abe relied too heavily on his monetary and fiscal policy without following through on a pledge of a “third arrow” of structural reform to achieve long-term growth despite a fast-ageing and shrinking population.SecurityAbe bolstered defense spending after years of declines and expanded the military’s ability to project power abroad.In a historic shift in 2014, his government reinterpreted the post-war, pacifist constitution to allow troops to fight overseas for the first time since World War Two.The following year, legislation ended a ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense, or defending a friendly country under attack.Faced with divided public opinion, however, Abe has not achieved his long-held goal of revising the US-drafted constitution by writing the Self-Defense Forces, as Japan’s military in known, into the pacifist Article 9.Personnel appointmentsBy creating a Personnel Affairs Bureau at the cabinet, Abe and his right-hand aide, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, gained greater control over appointments of bureaucrats, who for decades have dominated policymaking, shifting the balance of policy power toward politicians.DiplomacyAbe has cultivated warm personal ties with US President Donald Trump, averting worst-case outcomes on trade. He has overseen a cautious improvement in ties with China, although a territorial row and Beijing’s clampdown on Hong Kong are causing strains. Relations with South Korea turned frigid due to disputes over the wartime past.Abe has made little progress toward resolving a long-running feud with Russia over disputed islands seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War Two. The row has kept the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty ending the war.Nor has Abe been able to settle a feud with North Korea over Japanese citizens kidnapped by Pyongyang’s agents in the 1970s and 1980s, an issue he put at the center of his political career Topics : Japan has not suffered an explosive virus outbreak, but a recent rise in infections has fuelled concern that Abe is putting too much emphasis on the economy over health.Abe has drawn fire for an initial response to the outbreak that critics called clumsy and, more recently, for a seeming lack of leadership, including few media appearances.Dissatisfaction with his response, as well as scandals such as the arrest of a former justice minister and his lawmaker wife on suspicion of vote-buying, have eroded Abe’s ratings.A Kyodo news agency weekend survey showed Abe’s voter support at 36.0%, down from 38.8% the previous month and the second lowest since he returned to office in 2012.
It was also the Fed’s last policy decision before the Nov. 3 US presidential election, delivering the winner a runway of low borrowing costs for years to come. All but one Fed policymaker saw rates staying at their near-zero level through 2022. Just four saw them higher than that in 2023.“Effectively what we are saying is that rates will remain highly accommodative until the economy is far along in its recovery,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a news conference following the release of the policy statement and new economic projections.The new promise to “moderately exceed” 2 percent inflation, he added, “should be a very powerful statement in supporting economic activity.”Recovery is here With about half of the US jobs lost since the crisis now recouped, and consumer spending about three-quarters recovered, the economy has come farther and faster than most at the Fed had thought just a few months ago.The new economic projections showed policymakers now see the economy shrinking 3.7 percent this year, far less than the 6.5 percent decline they forecast in June. They see unemployment, which registered 8.4 percent in August, dropping to 7.6 percent by the end of the year.The recovery “is here, and it’s well along,” Powell said.And even as the virus continues to cause “tremendous human and economic hardship,” he said, “we are learning to live with COVID, which still spreads,” Powell said. Social distancing and the use of masks allowed much of the economy to regain ground lost in the second quarter, he said. That contraction was the worst suffered by the United States in the post-World War Two era.But with parts of the economy, like the travel and entertainment sectors, likely to take longer to revive, millions will still struggle to find work.The recovery, Powell noted, is expected to slow, requiring continued support from further government spending and, he said, the Fed, which is continuing to debate further actions including a possibly faster pace of bond buying.Or, as the central bank’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee said in the dry language of its statement after the end of its two-day meeting, “The Committee would be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy as appropriate if risks emerge that could impede the attainment of the Committee’s goals.”Bond purchasesThe Fed used its policy statement to begin to pivot from stabilizing financial markets to stimulating the economy, saying that it would keep its current government bond-buying at least at the current pace of US$120 billion per month, in part to ensure “accommodative” financial conditions in the future.The Fed’s pledge to remain accommodating for the foreseeable future initially lifted stocks, but a return of selling in the technology sector left Wall Street largely lower by day’s end. Yields on long-dated Treasury securities ticked higher, meanwhile, while the dollar ended the day little changed against major trading partner currencies.The new economic projections show that the Fed does not expect inflation to breach the 2 percent target any time soon.Powell said the Fed “is both confident and committed and determined” to modestly overshooting 2 percent inflation, but added that it would take time.In pledging to keep rates low until inflation was moving above the target, to make up for years spent below it, the Fed reflected its new tilt towards stronger job growth, announced late last month after a nearly two-year review.Both dissenters to the statement, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, took specific issue with the central bank’s guidance that it would keep interest rates where they are “until labor market conditions have reached levels consistent with … maximum employment and inflation has risen to 2 percent and is on track to moderately exceed 2 percent for some time.”Kaplan said he would have preferred to have “greater flexibility” once inflation and maximum employment were on track to reaching the Fed’s goals, an easier hurdle to reach. Kashkari’s dissent suggests he wanted a higher hurdle: for rates to stay where they are until core inflation – which often runs cooler than overall inflation – has reached 2 percent “on a sustained basis.”Topics : The Federal Reserve on Wednesday vowed to keep interest rates near zero until inflation is on track to overshoot the US central bank’s 2 percent target, a bold new promise aimed at bringing millions of out-of-work Americans back to the labor market.But the new guidance also marked the start of a vigorous monetary policy debate as the Fed shifts from a crisis-era focus on keeping markets afloat during the coronavirus pandemic to managing what it now sees as a steady, multi-year recovery.Underscoring the depth of disagreement, and the economic uncertainty that underlies it, the decision drew two dissents, one from a policymaker who thought it went too far, and the other from one who thought it didn’t go far enough.
Taiwan’s military is well-trained and well-equipped with mostly US-made hardware, but China has a huge numerical superiority and is adding advanced equipment of its own.The weapons packages from Lockheed Martin Co, Boeing and General Atomics are moving their way through the export process, three people familiar with the status of the deals on Capitol Hill said, and a notification to Congress is expected within weeks.One industry source said President Donald Trump was slated to be briefed on the packages this week by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Some of the deals had been requested by Taiwan more than a year ago, but are only now being moved through the approval process. A State Department spokesman declined comment.A senior US official, citing Chinese assertiveness in the Taiwan Strait, said: “There is no equilibrium today. It is out of balance. And I think that is dangerous.”Trump’s White House has made an effort to export weapons to US allies trying to bolster their defenses, decrease dependence on US troops while boosting US companies and jobs.As he fights for re-election on Nov. 3, Trump and Republican supporters have ramped up their rhetoric against Beijing and sought to portray Democratic opponent Joe Biden as soft on China.Other factors include Taiwan’s bigger defense budget, and the fear in Taiwan that if Trump loses, Biden would be less willing to sell the US’s most advanced weapons to them.Taiwan’s interest in US weapons and equipment is not new. The island is bolstering its defenses in the face of what it sees as increasingly threatening moves by Beijing, such as regular Chinese air force and naval exercises near Taiwan.The senior US official said Taiwan’s increased defense spending was a good step, but it had to do more.”Taiwan, frankly, needs to do more in order to ensure that they indigenously have an ability to deter Chinese aggression,” the official said.DealsDrones that can see over the horizon for surveillance and targeting, coupled with advanced missiles and coastal defenses that include smart mines and anti-submarine capabilities to impede a sea invasion, have been discussed at the highest levels to make Taiwan more difficult to attack, like a “porcupine”, according to industry and congressional sources.A Lockheed Martin-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), essentially a truck-based rocket launcher, is among the weapons Taiwan wants, people familiar with the negotiations said. Taiwan also seeks to buy sophisticated anti-tank missiles.In early August, Reuters reported that Washington is negotiating the sale of at least four of its large sophisticated aerial drones to Taiwan for what could be about $600 million.Also under discussion are land-based Boeing-made Harpoon anti-ship missiles to serve as a coastal defense against cruise missiles.Other systems include “underwater sea mines and other capabilities to deter amphibious landing, or immediate attack,” Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to United States said in July. At the same time Taiwan’s desire to buy weapons increased after President Tsai Ing-wen was re-elected in January and has made strengthening Taiwan’s defenses a top priority.Taiwan is China’s most sensitive territorial issue. Beijing says it is a Chinese province, and has denounced the Trump administration’s support for the island.Washington has been eager to create a military counterbalance to Chinese forces, building on an effort known within the Pentagon as “Fortress Taiwan”, as Beijing’s military makes increasingly aggressive moves in the region.Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said the reported package was a “media assumption,” and that it handled weapons purchase talks and assessments in a low-key, confidential way, so could not offer public comment until there was a formal US notification of any sales to Congress. The United States plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems, including mines, cruise missiles and drones to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said, as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China.Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to the island were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing.But the Trump administration has become more aggressive with China in 2020 and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, a lingering trade war and disputes about the spread of the novel coronavirus. Topics :