US sending ‘dangerous signals’ on Taiwan, China tells Blinken
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US sending ‘dangerous signals’ on Taiwan, China tells Blinken

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US sending ‘dangerous signals’ on Taiwan, China tells Blinken
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Tensions over Taiwan have soared since US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island in August.

China has accused the United States of sending “very wrong, dangerous signals” on Taiwan, and has told Washington that it had “no right to interfere” in whatever methods Beijing may use to “resolve” the Taiwan issue.

Taiwan was the focus of 90 minutes of “direct and honest” talks between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Friday, a US official told reporters.

“The secretary made crystal clear that, in accordance with our longstanding one-China policy, which again has not changed, the maintenance of peace and stability across the Strait is absolutely, vitally important,” the senior US administration official said.

China’s foreign ministry, in a statement on the meeting, said Washington was sending “very wrong, dangerous signals” about Taiwan, and the more rampant Taiwan’s independence activity, the less likely there would be a peaceful settlement.

“The Taiwan issue is an internal Chinese matter, and the United States has no right to interfere in what method will be used to resolve it,” the ministry cited Wang as saying.

 

Chinese state media said that Wang’s meeting with Blinken addressed China’s position on the “wrong behaviour” of the US towards Taiwan

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“We must clearly oppose and prevent ‘Taiwan independence’,” China’s Global Times news outlet cited Wang as telling Blinken.

 

Tensions over Taiwan have soared since a visit there in August by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi – which was followed by large-scale Chinese military drills – as well as a recent pledge by US President Joe Biden to defend the democratically governed island.

Biden’s statement was his most explicit to date about committing US troops to defend Taiwan.

Wang had a similar message for the United Kingdom’s foreign minister James Cleverly during a meeting earlier this week, also on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York.

Wang said the UK should “honour its one-China commitment and unequivocally oppose ‘Taiwan independence’,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

No change of policy

The White House has insisted its Taiwan policy has not changed, but China said Biden’s remarks sent the wrong signal to those seeking an independent Taiwan.

China sees Taiwan as one of its provinces. Beijing has long promised to bring Taiwan under its control and has not ruled out the use of force to do so.

Taiwan’s government strongly objects to China’s sovereignty claims and says only the island’s 23 million people can decide its future.

In a phone call with Biden in July, Chinese leader Xi Jinping warned about Taiwan, saying “those who play with fire will perish by it”.

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The State Department had said earlier that Blinken’s meeting with Wang on Friday was part of a US effort to “maintain open lines of communication and manage competition responsibly”.

Daniel Russel, the top US diplomat for Asia under President Barack Obama, said the fact Blinken and Wang had met was important after the turbulence brought by Pelosi’s visit.

Russel said that hopefully some progress would have been made towards arranging a meeting between Xi and Biden on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in November, which would be their first in person as leaders.

“Wang and Blinken’s decision to meet in New York does not guarantee the November summit will go smoothly or that it will even occur. But had they been unable to meet, it would have meant the prospects for a summit in November were poor,” said Russel, now with the Asia Society Policy Institute.

In a speech to the Asia Society in New York on Thursday, Wang said the Taiwan question was growing into the biggest risk in China-US relations.

“Should it be mishandled, it is most likely to devastate our bilateral ties,” Wang said, according to a transcript from the Chinese embassy.

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Lady Susan Hussey, Queen’s confidante and Prince William’s godmother – profile

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Lady Susan Hussey, who has stepped down from her role as a senior palace aide, was a key and trusted figure in the British royal household for decades.

The 83-year-old is godmother to Prince William, the Prince of Wales, and was one of Queen Elizabeth II’s closest confidantes.

She was her longest-serving lady-in-waiting – with the title Woman of the Bedchamber – having first been recruited in 1960. Lady Hussey was also portrayed briefly in the current season of the popular Netflix series, The Crown.

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Susan Katharine Hussey, Baroness Hussey of North Bradley, was born in 1939, the fifth and youngest daughter of the 12th Earl Waldegrave and Mary Hermione, Countess Waldegrave.

She has two children – one of whom, daughter Katharine, followed her mother into royal service, and serves as an official companion to Camilla, the Queen Consort.

Queen Elizabeth II Laughing With Her Lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey As They Gather Bouquets Of Flowers During A Walkabout On Her Jubilee Tour.IMAGE SOURCE, TIM GRAHAM
Lady Susan Hussey gathers bouquets during a walkabout with the Queen on her Jubilee Tour, 2002

Lady Hussey started working for the Royal Family in the same year the Queen gave birth to her third child, Prince Andrew.

At first, her role was to help answer letters, eventually becoming part of a close-knit inner circle of ladies-in-waiting with unrivaled knowledge of the workings of the palace.

The role of lady-in-waiting was typically given to wealthy aristocrats who were not paid a salary but becoming Woman of the Bedchamber was considered an extremely prestigious role.

Queen Elizabeth II And Prince Philip Seated On Thrones At The State Opening Of Parliament Held In The House Of Lords. The Queen And Prince Philip Are Accompanied By Ladies-in-waiting And Pages Of Honour. The Ladies-in-waiting Are Diana Lady Farnham And Lady Susan Hussey (far Right). (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)IMAGE SOURCE,TIM GRAHAM
Lady Susan Hussey (far right) accompanying the Queen and Prince Philip at the State Opening of Parliament, 2004

She sat alongside the Queen in the royal Bentley on the journey to the funeral of Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 2022, and led members of the royal household at her funeral at Westminster Abbey in September of the following year.

Buckingham Palace announced last week that Lady Hussey and the other former ladies-in-waiting who served the Queen would help King Charles III to host events and would be known as “ladies of the household”.

She resigned from that role, and apologized, after she repeatedly asked a black British charity boss where she was from at a palace event for campaigners against sexual violence against women.

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Therefore, Prince Harry should not have been informed about her cancer

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Prince Harry should not have been informed about her cancer
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While the Royal Family knew about Queen Elizabeth’s alleged cancer, one family member was said not to have been informed for a very specific reason: Prince Harry.

The headlines surrounding the new book by  Gyles Brandreth , 74, a former MP and close friend of Queen Elizabeth , †96, and her husband Prince Philip , †99, don’t stop. In “Elizabeth: An Intimate Portrait” the author not only unpacks the Queen’s relationship with her grandson Prince Harry , 38, and his wife Duchess Meghan , 41, but also about their health condition.

Did Queen Elizabeth Have Bone Marrow Cancer?

Gyles Brandreth claims the monarch was suffering from a form of myeloma, “which would explain her fatigue, weight loss and the ‘mobility problems’ that we were often told about in the last year of her life.”

But while the public remained ignorant of her condition before the Queen’s death, the royal family was of course informed – except for Harry and Meghan, according to journalist  Kinsey Schofield in her “The To Di For Daily Podcast”. She believes that the emigrated couple was not informed about this and there is a very specific reason for that.

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Prince Harry is said not to have known

“Someone texted me today and said that Gyles may […] have gotten permission from the family to put this in his book to make sure it doesn’t become breaking news if Harry reveals it in ‘Spare’ , which I think is very intelligent.”

Kinsey Schofield thinks the royal family simply wanted to maintain control over whether and how this information is released. The renegade prince, whose scandalous memoir is due out in January, simply couldn’t be trusted.

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Sources used: The To Di For Daily Podcast, express.co.uk, mailplus.co.uk

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What British PM Sunak’s first foreign policy speech made clear

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What British PM Sunak’s first foreign policy speech made clear
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The British leader, who came to power last month, promises ‘robust pragmatism’ in his first foreign policy speech.

UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak came into office last month with the expectation he would initiate a phase of new, stable conditions for his party and the entire country. He must prepare a post-Brexit Britain, as the war on the European continent continues, for the new geopolitical challenges it faces.

On Monday evening, he gave his first foreign policy speech that was significant for two reasons in particular.

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First, Sunak has had no de facto foreign policy profile. Although he has made it clear that he stands by European responsibility and for the defence of liberal values, he did so without outlining a coherent and precise vision for his foreign policy.

“The assumption was that he was close to [former Prime Minister Boris] Johnson on foreign policy, so supportive of Ukraine after Russia’s invasion of their nation, supportive of the US-UK special relationship, cautious over China’s influence on the UK,” Victoria Honeyman, an associate professor of British politics at the University of Leeds, told Al Jazeera.

“Beyond that, it’s hard to know. Although obviously, there has been discussion about whether Sunak’s ethnicity and the fact that his wife has family and business interests in India might lead to better relations with India.”

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Second, unlike his immediate predecessors Johnson and Liz Truss, who were foreign ministers before becoming prime ministers, Sunak has no direct experience outside of financial markets on the international stage of geopolitics. However, the lack of experience could also be an advantage.

“[Being an unknown quantity in terms of foreign policy views] meant he was likely to be less ideological and more pragmatic. Given his background as chancellor of the Exchequer and in financial services before entering politics, we can probably also expect him to emphasise economic over security or political factors more,” James Strong, a senior lecturer in British politics and foreign policy at the Queen Mary University of London, told Al Jazeera.

Therefore, his speech on British foreign policy and the role he sees Britain playing were eagerly awaited.

Liberal values

Sunak’s speech made it clear that liberal values ​​would play a significant role and that he did indeed seek to broaden Britain’s influence in the immediate future.

“Freedom and openness have always been the strongest forces of progress,” said Sunak’s keynote speech at the annual Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London. This, however, Sunak continued, was “never achieved by standing still”.

Britain must “do more to defend its values ​​of freedom and openness on the world stage,” Sunak added.

Robust pragmatism” is the term Sunak used to describe his foreign policy vision for Britain, which he had already displayed during his visit to Kyiv and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last week.

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The visit underscored Britain’s continued commitment to Ukraine despite the change in leadership. After all, while Britain has been at the forefront of the Western response to Russian aggression, questions about whether Sunak could maintain the defence spending commitment were raised.

But in his speech, Sunak made clear that Britain would stand by Ukraine “as long as it is necessary”.

He committed that military aid should at least be maintained next year and possibly even increased.

In addition, Sunak announced that he would provide new support to Ukraine’s air defences to protect the Ukrainian people and the critical infrastructure.

Moreover, Sunak said that the UK must “end global dependence on authoritarian regimes – starting with Russian gas”.

However, the main question was what Sunak’s position would be on China.

In contrast to the Ukraine issue, he had provided contradictory signals in the past few weeks about how he wanted to shape relations with China in the future.

Britain’s relations with China have significantly deteriorated since UK’s former Prime Minister David Cameron and China’s President Xi Jinping famously shared a pint of beer in a pub in 2016.

“The UK has, over the last five years, tended to treat China with more caution than it had previously. This was driven by concerns over spying accusations, the approach of the US to China and concerns over investment in infrastructure projects,” Honeyman said.

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