summer extravaganza: issue six


Retaliation and uncertainty after Pelosi visit

by Eleanor Austin

image credit:KOKUYO (Wikimedia Commons)

The China-US relations have revealed their tumultuous nature once more, following Nancy Pelosi’s unauthorised visit to Taiwan on 2 August. As the Speaker of the House she is the most senior US politician to visit this region in 25 years. This has provoked an inevitable backlash from Beijing. 

Previously, the US had accepted the One China policy, where it agreed to recognise the Beijing government as the only legitimate Chinese government. However, Pelosi’s trip has been viewed by Beijing as an official recognition of Taiwan, going against this policy.

Since Pelosi’s arrival, military drills have been undertaken by China, with 100 warplanes, ten warships and ballistic missiles being reported over or around the island. Additionally, China has stopped cooperation with the US over important agreements, including COP26 climate change policies and counter-narcotics collaborations.

Consequently, this relationship remains tense – leaving  the world, and  especially Taiwan in great uncertainty.

North Korea declares victory over Covid as threat of famine looms

by Harvey Young

image credit: Darwinek (Wikimedia Commons)

The North Korean government has announced that it has recovered from the Covid pandemic, claiming to have had 48 million infections but only 73 deaths, although this figure is unlikely. However, this conceals the grim prospect of North Korea’s worst famine since the 1994-1998 famine which killed between 240,000 and 3,500,000 people.

North Korea’s increased economic isolation as a result of the Covid pandemic; the drastic rise in global corn prices and North Korea’s economic reliance on the stagnating Chinese economy are all likely contributors to this threat of famine.

However, there are signs that the North Korean government is attempting to avoid this, as they have recently offered to send 100,000 labourers to Russia, possibly in return for food imports. However, it remains to be seen if North Korea, alongside the international community, can avoid another tragic famine.


Iraq: political instability and the threat of escalation

by Neo Allert

image credit: Ahmad AL-RUBAYE / AFP

Iraq is facing a time of immense political instability. On 31 July the Iraqi parliament was stormed by the followers of Muqtaba al-Sadr, leader of the largest faction in parliament. Many protesters seem to prepare themselves for a long-term sit-in. Since then al-Sadr has continued to mobilise his supporters.

On 5 August he called upon them to gather in Baghdad’s Green Zone, the highly fortified political centre of the capital, for a mass prayer. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis assembled for this symbolic show of strength.

Although al-Sadr successfully won the last parliamentary election, he failed  to secure a majority. With parliament in deadlock, unable to form a government, al-Sadr has called for new elections. Parliament, however, can only be dissolved by a majority vote. As this seems unlikely, many fear that the deadlock could turn into violence.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – still violent and active to this day

by Connor Crout

image credit: SpinnerLaserz (Wikimedia Commons)

In response to a threat from a Palestinian militant group, Israel has ordered a strike on Gaza which has killed at least ten people. The Israel Defence Forces said they struck sites related to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict started in the mid-20th century. After World War One, Britain took control of Palestine, an area in the Middle East which had an Arab majority as well as a significant Jewish minority. Both groups of people claimed the land was their ancestral home. In 1947, the UN voted for Palestine to be split into two separate states, one Jewish and one Arab. The Jews agreed but the Arabs didn’t. When the state of Israel was declared in 1948, the Arabs invaded, starting the conflict.

A Palestinian Islamic Jihad Commander was killed by the strikes on 6 August. The violent Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, therefore, continues to this day.

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