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Press review EX - 4 April

Extrema Ratio focuses on the topics we work on, including geopolitcs, cybersecurity, critical technologies, foreign interference, disinformation, international law, national security.


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Extrema Ratio

On March 31, President Xi Jinping met with Spanish Prime Minister Sanchez, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar and Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

An official from Beijing's foreign affairs ministry told CPC news agency Xinhua that China's diplomatic relations can be divided into three concentric circles:

  • bilateral relations

  • regional relations

  • global relationships

Russia aims to further strengthen its comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation with China, Russia's new Foreign Policy Concept said on Friday.


Russia prioritizes the development of mutually beneficial cooperation with China in all areas, providing mutual assistance and strengthening coordination in the international arena to ensure security, stability, and sustainable development at the global and regional levels, the document said.

Read also:

China

China escalates tech battle with review of US chipmaker Micron Financial Times Thomas Hale China launched a review into US chip manufacturer Micron Technology on “national security” grounds, as Beijing retaliates against Washington’s increasing curbs on Chinese access to semiconductor technology.

Chinese artists test censorship’s new red line Financial Times Alex Colville Mao Zedong saw artists as the rank and file of his “cultural army”, and for Xi Jinping they play a similar role. “Literature and art are the bugle call for the progress of the times,” the Chinese president told a forum of artists and writers in 2014, adding that art was at its finest when it was “serving the people and serving socialism”, and should be heartwarming, “like sunshine from a blue sky or a cool spring breeze”. For work lacking on the sunny and breezy side, consequences range from being “invited to tea” (interrogation at the local police station) to life imprisonment.

China has been waging a decades-long, all-out spy war Foreign Policy Calder Walton One week ago, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was questioned by members of the U.S. Congress, before the world’s media, about whether the Chinese government uses the wildly popular video-sharing app to spy on Americans. His testimony came several weeks after the appearance of a Chinese spy balloon floating across the United States. What are we to make of these two stories, which are at their core both about Chinese espionage? China Is Eating Russia's Lunch in the Defense Market Defence One

Thomas Corbett The script has flipped in the countries' traditional defense-industrial relationship. In the new Sino-Russian defense relationship, China does what it wants, and there isn’t a whole lot Russia can do about it.

Xi Jingping’s recent visit to Moscow—his first since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine last year—was summed up by historian Sergey Radchenko in this way: “The summit can be summarised by the Chinese saying 雷声大雨点小 (Loud thunder but few raindrops). Scratch that, even the thunder wasn’t all that loud.”

Janes

Akhil Kadidal

Flights by Chinese military aircraft into Taiwan's air-defence identification zone (ADIZ) are becoming increasingly complex and are showing a more diverse range of operations.

For years, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force (PLAAF) and the PLA Navy (PLAN) focused on flights into the southwestern quadrant of the ADIZ and near Pratas Island, an isolated atoll defended by Taiwan's Coast Guard Administration. However, from mid-2022, Chinese air operations changed in scope and capability.

According to data from Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) and Japan's Ministry of Defense (MoD), 1,872 Chinese military aircraft flew into the ADIZ between 1 March 2022 and 27 March 2023. These aircraft were spread across at least 894 unique incursions.

Within these overall figures were 718 Chinese military aircraft that conducted 235 individual incursions over the median line – the unofficial boundary.

  • China stages military drills in the East China Sea ahead of President Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to the US. The Taiwanese President is set to meet with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday as she returns from visits to remaining allies in Central America. China has repeatedly warned against any official contact between the US and Taiwanese authorities. Amber Wang. South China Morning Post, 3 April

‘Not about the highest bidder’: The countries defying China to stick with Taiwan. Helen Davidson. The Guardian. 4 April
  • Chinese spy balloon gathered intelligence from sensitive military sites in the US. The US defence department has reiterated that any electronic signals gathered from weapons systems or base communications had “limited additive value”. Courtney Kube and Carol E. Lee. NBC News. 3 April

  • Macron to discuss war in Ukraine during talks with Xi. Macron’s three-day trip to Beijing will start on Wednesday, with the Ukraine War, French business in China and tensions in the Indo-Pacific on the agenda. Zhao Ziwen and Jack Lau. South China Morning Post. 3 April

  • Chinese foreign minister urges Japanese counterpart to abandon semiconductor export restrictions. Qin Gang warned against Japan’s plans to impose export restrictions under a three-way agreement with the US and Netherlands. Thomas Hale and Leo Lewis. Financial Times. 2 April

  • Malaysia and China to discuss forming Asian Monetary Fund. Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim proposed the idea at the Boao Forum in Hainan last week as a means to reduce dollar dependency. Anisah Shukry. Bloomberg. 4 April

  • Shipping hubs in South East Asia lack capacity to compete with China. Recent analysis of freight data suggests that Western businesses will struggle to distance themselves from China without significant investment in port infrastructure across South East Asia. Oliver Telling, Martin Stabe, Chan Ho-him and Andrew Edgecliffe Johnson. Financial Times. 3 April

  • Chinese Football Association facing corruption crackdown. Eight former and current CFA officials are under investigation. The General Administration of Sport of China announced this week that it has set up a working group to assume operational control of the CFA. Cyril Ip. South China Morning Post. 3 April

  • Beijing retaliates with national security investigation into US chip maker Micron Technology Inc. The Cyber Administration of China will review Micron’s products in the Chinese market, citing the need to safeguard critical information infrastructure. Chang Che and John Liu. The New York Times. 4 April

  • HSBC forced to defend “risky” SVB deal in Hong Kong. HSBC has denied claims that it was acting on the orders of the UK Government after agreeing to purchase Silicon Valley Bank’s UK business. Kaye Wiggins. Financial Times. 3 April

  • Ford-CATL Group EV deal attracts scrutiny in the US. Ford announced plans to license CATL’s technology to use in a $3.5bn Michigan factory. Chinese battery manufacturer CATL Group is also reportedly in talks with Tesla. Edward White, Cheng Leng and Claire Bushey. Financial Times. 4 April

  • China extends state influence in the steel sector. State-owned conglomerate CITIC has outbid private sector rivals for a controlling stake in top steel producer Nanjing Iron & Steel Group. Financial Times. 3 April

  • Huawei struggles to navigate the EV industry. The company’s pivot towards the auto sector has been hindered by US sanctions, domestic competition and a lack of brand identity. Che Pan. South China Morning Post. 3 April

  • How China is winning the race for Africa’s lithium. Harry Dempsey and Joseph Cotterill. Financial Times. 3 April

  • Xi Jinping’s idea of world order. Mark Leonard. ASPI. 4 April

  • The Sanctions Sieve: The U.S. government is trying to stop China from selling chips to Russia that aid its war effort. It’s failing. Katrina Northrop. The Wire. 2 April

  • Temu’s big haul. A look at the story behind Temu, the Boston-based sister company of Pinduoduo. Ella Apostoaie. The Wire. 2 April


China Neican

  • Brief #143: March Politburo Meeting: Education Campaign and Personal Reporting

  • Neican: March 2023 Publications

  • Brief #142: Investigation and Research: Mass Line and High Modernism

Made in China Journal

  • Reproductive Realities in Modern China: A Conversation with Sarah Mellors Rodriguez

China Media Project

  • CCP or CPC: A China Watchers’ Rorschach

China Brief

  • Xi Jinping Thought and The End of (Chinese) History

  • Beyond Arms and Ammunition: China, Russia and the Iran Back Channel

  • CCP Narratives on Taiwan at the Two Sessions: Maintaining a “Measured Hardline”

  • Wang Yi’s European Tour: China Seeks a Trans-Atlantic Wedge

  • Central African Republic Mine Attack: Can China Protect its Overseas Nationals?

USA

Western Digital says hackers stole data in ‘network security’ breach TechCrunch Carly Page Data storage giant Western Digital has confirmed that hackers exfiltrated data from its systems during a “network security incident” last week. The California-based company said in a statement on Monday that an unauthorized third party gained access to “a number” of its internal systems on March 26. Western Digital hasn’t confirmed the nature of the incident or revealed how it was compromised, but its statement suggests the incident may be linked to ransomware.

Scoop: White House won't pay for Twitter verification Axios Sara Fischer The White House will not pay to have its staff's official Twitter profiles continue to be verified, according to guidance issued to staffers via an email obtained by Axios.

TikTok attorney: China can’t get U.S. data under plan Associated Press Haleluya Hadero Under intense scrutiny from Washington that could lead to a potential ban, the top attorney for TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance defended the social media platform’s plan to safeguard U.S. user data from China. “The basic approach that we’re following is to make it physically impossible for any government, including the Chinese government, to get access to U.S. user data,” said general counsel Erich Andersen during a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press at a cybersecurity conference in Sausalito, California.

Members of Congress on TikTok defend app’s reach to voters Associated Press Farnoush Amri As pressure against TikTok mounts in Washington, the more than two dozen members of Congress — all Democrats — who are active on the social media platform are being pushed by their colleagues to stop using it. Many defend their presence on the platform, saying they have a responsibility as public officials to meet Americans where they are — and more than 150 million are on TikTok.

ICE is grabbing data from schools and abortion clinics WIRED Dhruv Mehrotra US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents are using an obscure legal tool to demand data from elementary schools, news organizations, and abortion clinics in ways that, some experts say, may be illegal.

How a fake Nashville manifesto fueled anti-trans rage online The Washington Post Drew Harwell On Tuesday, a fake manifesto first shared on the message board 4chan, falsely claiming that the shooter at a Nashville school had acted “in the name of trans rights,” was shared by right-wing activists on Twitter and viewed hundreds of thousands of times. A day later, police raced to schools across Pennsylvania and New Jersey after receiving calls falsely reporting that they, too, were under attack. State troopers later said the calls were “believed to be computer-generated.”

A campaign aide didn’t write that email. A.I. did. The New York Times Shane Goldmacher The Democratic Party has begun testing the use of artificial intelligence to write first drafts of some fund-raising messages, appeals that often perform better than those written entirely by human beings.

A front company and a fake identity: How the U.S. came to use spyware it was trying to kill The New York Times Mark Mazzetti and Ronen Bergman The secret contract was finalized on Nov. 8, 2021, a deal between a company that has acted as a front for the United States government and the American affiliate of a notorious Israeli hacking firm. Under the arrangement, the Israeli firm, NSO Group, gave the U.S. government access to one of its most powerful weapons — a geolocation tool that can covertly track mobile phones around the world without the phone user’s knowledge or consent.

Biden needs to broaden semiconductor sanctions on China Foreign Policy Ben Noon In recent years, Washington has made historic strides in its semiconductor policy by recognizing that chips are perhaps the most important part of the United States’ techno-economic rivalry with China. These efforts culminated in October 2022’s export control rules, which have been widely and correctly praised for their effort to constrain China’s production of the world’s most advanced chips whose military uses and commercial significance are impossible to overstate. But the United States would benefit from going further.

Janes

Akhil Kadidal

The United States has deployed a squadron of Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighters on Okinawa amid the continuing phased withdrawal of ageing Boeing F-15C/Ds from the island.

The US Air Force's (USAF's) 18th Wing on Okinawa said in a statement that F-35As from the 355th Fighter Squadron arrived at Kadena Air Base (AB) from Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) on 28 March. Kadena is home to the USAF's 18th Wing and a variety of associated units. These include two F-15 squadrons, which are in the process of being withdrawn to the US, according to data held by Janes.

The 355th Fighter Squadron's deployment is to “ensure continuous fighter presence through the phased return of Kadena's fleet of F-15C/D Eagles to the United States”, the 18th Wing Public Affairs unit said in a statement.

FDD

John Hardie and David Adesnik

Welcome back to the Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker. Once a month, we ask FDD’s experts and scholars to assess the administration’s foreign policy. They provide trendlines of very positive, positive, neutral, negative, or very negative for the areas they watch.

Last month saw President Joe Biden host his Australian and British counterparts to announce next steps in their trilateral defense pact, known as AUKUS, which seeks to strengthen deterrence of Beijing. Meanwhile, Japan and South Korea are working to mend ties, a boon for U.S. efforts to combat threats from China and North Korea. The White House also released a long-awaited national strategy that delineates U.S. cybersecurity priorities.

The good news ends there, however. Although it is working with allies to help Ukraine prepare for a spring counteroffensive, the administration continues to withhold key weapons from Kyiv. The administration also refuses to lower the G7-imposed price cap on Russian oil exports, neutering its ability to cut Kremlin revenue. Additionally, the president’s proposed defense budget, once adjusted for inflation, would leave the U.S. military with flat or even declining resources while failing to fund top priorities identified by Indo-Pacific Command.

Janes

Michael Fabey

The US Navy (USN) awarded Leonardo DRS contracts worth about USD1 billion, when fully funded, to provide the integrated electric propulsion components for Columbia-class strategic submarines, the company confirmed on 4 April during the Navy League Sea-Air-Space 2023 Global Maritime Exposition in National Harbor, Maryland, which started on 3 April.

The integrated electric propulsion components will be manufactured in the company's Fitchburg, Massachusetts; Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin; and Danbury, Connecticut, facilities. Additional content will be manufactured in the DRS High Ridge, Missouri, facility.

  • Former President Trump is expected to plead not guilty in today’s hearing, his lawyers have said. The hearing is scheduled for around 14:15 local time. Trump is expected to be released on bail and to return to his Florida home Mar-a-Lago this evening, where he plans to deliver remarks at 20:15 local time. Sam Cabral and Holly Honderich report for BBC News.

  • Former President Trump has hired the top white-collar criminal defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor, Todd Blanche, as his lead counsel. Blanche previously represented Trump ally Paul Manafort and Igor Fruman, a one-time associate of Rudy Giuliani who pleaded guilty in a campaign finance case. While defending Manafort, Blanche called the indictment “politically motivated,” a charge Trump levied at the district attorney, Alvin Bragg. Erica Orden reports for POLITICO.

  • Most Americans approve of the indictment of former President Trump, but many also believe that politics played at least some role, recent polls show. A CNN poll found that 60% of Americans approve of the indictment. An ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 45% of Americans believe Trump should be charged with a crime in the case, while 32% say he should not be charged. In a Quinnipiac University poll, 62% of Americans thought politics mainly motivated the indictment. Erin Doherty reports for Axios.

  • The House Committee on Homeland Security wants to obtain access to classified and unclassified government documents that expose potential security vulnerabilities posed by dozens of Chinese-made cranes at U.S. ports, said Committee chair Mark Green (R-TN). It is “extremely worrisome” that about 80% of American port cranes use software that a Chinese company manufactures, said Green in a statement. The Homeland Security Committee also wants to hold public and potentially closed-door hearings on the matter by Apr. 18, officials said. Gordon Lubold and Aruna Viswanatha report for the Wall Street Journal.

  • China is keeping at least one nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarine constantly at sea for the first time, according to a Pentagon report, adding pressure on the U.S. and its allies as they try to counter Beijing’s growing military. The new patrols imply improvements in many areas, including logistics, command and control, and weapons. Greg Torode and Eduardo Baptista report for Reuters.

  • House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has confirmed he will meet Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in California this week, despite China’s warning this could lead to “serious confrontation.” Nicholas Yong reports for BBC News.

  • The Philippines yesterday identified the locations of four new military bases the U.S. will gain access to as part of an expanded defense agreement that analysts say is aimed at combating China. The four bases, three on the main island of Luzon, close to Taiwan, and one in Palawan province in the South China Sea, opened up under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Arrangement. Brad Lendon reports for CNN.

  • The U.S. yesterday carried out a military operation that killed a senior leader of the self-styled Islamic State militant group in Syria, the U.S. Central Command has said.Khalid’ Aydd Ahmad al-Jabouri was responsible for planning attacks in Europe and developed the leadership structure for the group. Reuters reports.

Americas

  • Report: Brazilian Presidential Envoy Met With Putin. A top foreign affairs advisor to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met with Russian President Vladimir Putin (Reuters) about potential peace talks to end the war in Ukraine, CNN Brasil reported. The advisor said it “would be an exaggeration to say the doors are open [to peace talks], but it’s not true to say they are totally closed.”

  • For Foreign Affairs, Hussein Kalout and Feliciano Guimarães write that conflicting Russian and Ukrainian interests could limit Lula’s ability to negotiate.

  • Venezuela: The new representative for Venezuela’s political opposition in the United States, Fernando Blasi, called on Washington to ease sanctions (AP) on the country’s oil sector, a sharp contrast to the hard-line stance of previous opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

North Asia

Japan restricts chipmaking equipment exports as it aligns with US China curbs Reuters Tim Kelly and Miho Uranaka Japan said on Friday it will restrict exports of 23 types of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, aligning its technology trade controls with a U.S. push to curb China's ability to make advanced chips.

  • China presses Japan to change course on chip export curbs Financial Times Thomas Hale and Leo Lewis China has attempted to dissuade Japan from imposing big curbs on exports of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, as part of a fast-evolving geopolitical battle over access to the world’s most advanced chips.

Japan aims to treble sales of domestically made microchips by 2030 Reuters Kiyoshi Takenaka Japan's industry ministry said on Monday it aimed to treble sales of semiconductors made in Japan to 15 trillion yen ($112.55 billion) by 2030 as Tokyo strives to boost domestic microchip production following global supply chain snarls.

  • Thousands of North Koreans work in China and Russia under brutal conditions to raise money for the North Korean regime, according to​ a new report published by the South’s Unification Ministry. Rights groups have described the working conditions as “state-sponsored slavery.” China and Russia, which have sought to make North Korea a partner in their rivalry with the U.S., have become loopholes in enforcing a U.N. Security Council resolution, which required countries to expel ​​the workers by the end of 2019. Choe Sang-Hun reports for the New York Times.

South & Central Asia

India hunts for spyware that rivals controversial Pegasus system Financial Times Mehul Srivastava and Kaye Wiggins India is hunting for new spyware with a lower profile than the controversial Pegasus system blacklisted by the US government, with rival surveillance software makers preparing bids on lucrative deals being offered by Narendra Modi’s government.

  • After China said it “standardized” the names (Reuters) of eleven places in a border region it calls southern Tibet, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar tweeted that the area, which New Delhi refers to as Arunachal Pradesh, will always be part of India.

  • Pakistan’s Top Court Approves Early Elections in Punjab. National election officials sought to delay the province’s May 14 vote by several months, but the Supreme Court overruled them (Bloomberg). The party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan controls Punjab and has pushed for early elections there.

  • Afghanistan: The Taliban said their forces in Balkh Province killed six fighters (AP) from the Islamic State in Khorasan, a local offshoot of the self-declared Islamic State.

Australia

Anthony Albanese signs off on TikTok ban on government devices after top security review The Australian Simon Benson Anthony Albanese has signed off on a government-wide ban on the use of social media app TikTok following a review by the Department of Home Affairs into the security risks of the Chinese-owned platform.

ACT government reviewing 'spy cams' use after security concerns raised The Canberra Times Sarah Basford Canales The ACT government is undertaking a full review of its surveillance camera network with some CCTV brands suspected of being "spyware" already having been uncovered across government buildings.

We’ve sorted the subs. Now for AUKUS 2, says our new man in London Australian Financial Review Hans van Leeuwen If you thought striking a $368 billion deal to build nuclear submarines was challenging, the next phase of AUKUS could be more daunting still, according to Australia’s new man in London, Stephen Smith. It took 18 months for the three countries to nut out a plan to share sensitive technology and co-design a new class of nuclear submarine. But Mr Smith – who started as high commissioner at the end of January – says that is only the start.

  • Australian Government bans TikTok. Australia follows the lead of the US and UK with a decision to ban the app on government devices. Josh Taylor.The Guardian. 4 April

  • Australia has banned TikTok on government devices It’s the latest in a long line of countries erring on the side of caution. (TechCrunch) + The beauty of TikTok’s secret, surprising, and eerily accurate recommendation algorithms. (MIT Technology Review)

Ukraine - Russia

Influential Russian military blogger is killed in St. Petersburg bombing The New York Times Ivan Nechepurenko and Anatoly Kurmanaev An influential Russian military blogger who called for an escalation of the war in Ukraine was killed when a bomb exploded in a cafe in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Sunday, in what appeared to be one of the most high-profile attacks on a supporter of Moscow’s invasion.

Despite Western bans, Putin’s propaganda flourishes in Spanish on TV and social media Reuters Institute Gretel Kahn With almost 500 million speakers and a global reach, Spanish has always been one of the key languages for Kremlin’s propaganda. But Spanish-language channels became even more important after Vladimir Putin launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The Western ban of state-funded outlets such as RT and Sputnik didn’t deter the Kremlin’s impact in Spain and Latin America through social media channels, Telegram channels and local influencers who favour Russia’s side.

  • Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was detained in Russia last week, has appealed his arrest, according to Russian state news agencies. A date has yet to be set for the hearing. Fewer than 1% of defendants in such cases manage to win an acquittal, a statistic cited widely by legal analysts and the U.S. State Department. Carly Olson reports for the New York Times.

  • Darya Trepova has been detained for the murder of Russian pro-war blogger Vladlen Tatarsky. Russian media reports say Trepova, 26, handed Tatarsky a statuette which was believed to contain the explosives that killed him and injured more than 30 people. Russian officials say the “act of terror” was planned and organized from the territory of Ukraine, and that the suspect is a supporter of the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), headed by jailed Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. Robert Greenall reports for BBC News.

  • Finland will become a NATO member today. The move will reshape European security, extending the NATO alliance’s reach to the continent’s Arctic frontier and doubling its land border with Russia. Rachel Pannett and Leo Sands report for the Washington Post.

  • The Russian paramilitary Wagner group leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, said he has raised a Russian flag in Bakhmut on Sunday. Prigozhin stated that this flag-raising indicated that by “legal norms,” his forces had taken the city. He conceded that Ukrainian troops continue to hold western districts of the city. Jared Malsin reports for the Wall Street Journal.

Europe

ChatGPT banned in Italy over privacy concerns BBC Shiona McCallum Italy has become the first Western country to block advanced chatbot ChatGPT. The Italian data-protection authority said there were privacy concerns relating to the model, which was created by US start-up OpenAI and is backed by Microsoft.

  • Italian minister says country's ban on ChatGPT is excessive Reuters Federico Maccioni and Elvria Pollina Italy's deputy prime minister on Sunday criticised a decision by the government's Data Protection Authority to temporarily ban chatbot ChatGPT, saying the block over privacy concerns seemed excessive.

  • Germany could block ChatGPT if needed, says data protection chief Reuters Rachel More, Padraic Halpin, Tassilo Hummel and Supantha Mukherjee Germany could follow in Italy's footsteps by blocking ChatGPT over data security concerns, the German commissioner for data protection told the Handelsblatt newspaper in comments published on Monday.

German police raid DDoS-friendly host ‘FlyHosting’ Krebs on Security Chris Krebs Authorities in Germany this week seized internet servers that powered FlyHosting, a dark web offering that catered to cybercriminals operating DDoS-for-hire services, KrebsOnSecurity has learned. FlyHosting first advertised on cybercrime forums in November 2022, saying it was a Germany-based hosting firm that was open for business to anyone looking for a reliable place to host malware, botnet controllers, or DDoS-for-hire infrastructure.

  • Germany: German investigators suspect that a rented yacht that has been the focus of probes into the September 2022 attack on the Nord Stream II pipeline was likely not the only vehicle involved in the incident, the Washington Post reported.

  • President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron have urged China to play a “constructive” role in bringing peace to Ukraine ahead of a meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping this week. Von der Leyen emphasized that while President Xi Jinping visited Moscow last month, he did not call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “If there is a single country that can lead Moscow to change its calculations, it is China,” said an Elysée official. Sam Fleming and Leila Abboud report for the Financial Times.

  • Hashim Thaci, Kosovo’s former president and prime minister, pleaded not guilty to 10 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Kosovo Specialist Chambers of The Hague yesterday. Prosecutors are also pursuing three of Thaci’s former comrades in arms: the head of intelligence, Kadri Veseli; the rebels’ spokesperson, Jakup Krasniqi; and the director of operations, Rexhep Selimi. Marlise Simons reports for the New York Times.

  • Ahead of a trip to China tomorrow, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Beijing should use its relations with Moscow to try to reign in Russia’s war (FT) in Ukraine. China will host von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron for three days in an official state visit. Macron is expected to urge Chinese President Xi Jinping to push for initiatives to help Ukrainian civilians and for peace talks, an unnamed French official told the Associated Press. Macron and Xi are also set to discuss trade and climate-related issues.

  • The European leaders’ trip to China comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Poland (WaPo).

  • “The flurry of diplomatic activity [between Europe and China] coincides with China’s announcement of ‘unlimited partnership’ with Russia and Beijing’s awkward effort to mediate the war in Ukraine. China’s growing closeness to Moscow has placed Europe in a difficult spot,” the New York Times’ Steven Erlanger and Matina Stevis-Gridneff write.

  • “The flurry of diplomatic activity [between Europe and China] coincides with China’s announcement of ‘unlimited partnership’ with Russia and Beijing’s awkward effort to mediate the war in Ukraine. China’s growing closeness to Moscow has placed Europe in a difficult spot,” the New York Times’ Steven Erlanger and Matina Stevis-Gridneff write.

UK

Capita, company providing UK’s nuclear submarine training, confirms ‘cyber incident’ The Record by Recorded Future Alexander Martin Capita, the United Kingdom’s largest outsourcing company, confirmed Monday that an IT outage which left staff locked out of their accounts on Friday was caused by “a cyber incident.”

UK watchdog warns chatbot developers over data protection laws The Guardian Dan Milmo and Alex Hern Britain’s data watchdog has issued a warning to tech firms about the use of people’s personal information to develop chatbots after concerns that the underlying technology is trained on large quantities of unfiltered material scraped from the web.

Middle East

Israel's tech sector reels from SVB collapse, proposed judicial reform Reuters Steven Scheer After weathering recession and military conflicts, Israel's high-tech sector could be facing its biggest test yet as the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank removes a key funding source and a proposed judicial overhaul threatens the bedrock of corporate law.

  • Saudi Arabia’s cuts to oil production demonstrate how Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is willing to set aside U.S. interests to pursue a “Saudi First” nationalist energy policy. The production cut led to an oil price increase of 6.3% yesterday, which the U.S. fears could benefit Russia as it fights in Ukraine. Officials and other people familiar with Saudi oil policy have said the higher prices are necessary to fund Riyadh’s massive development projects. Summer Said and Stephen Kalin report for the Wall Street Journal.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • RSF: Sahel Becoming ‘No-News’ Zone. Africa’s Sahel region is being “dangerously deprived of independent journalists” due to armed conflicts and government suppression, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said as it launched a new report on the region. The organization urged governments and regional bodies to take action to protect journalists.

  • Burkina Faso/France: Burkina Faso expelled two correspondents (BBC) from the French newspapers Le Monde and Libération after the latter published an exposé that showed children being executed at military facilities.

Big Tech

Twitter's blue ticks disappear as Musk attacks NY Times BBC Alys Davies The New York Times has lost its blue tick on Twitter after it said it would not pay to remain verified. Twitter has started removing verification badges from accounts which already had a blue tick, after announcing they would be part of a paid subscription from 1 April.

Artificial Intelligence

Nonconsensual deepfake porn is an emergency that is ruining lives The Guardian The overall economy might not be in great shape, but the nonconsensual deepfake porn economy? That’s in rude health. AI-generated imagery has been around for a long time now but it’s recently become disturbingly sophisticated. See, for example, all the people who were taken in by the viral AI-generated photo of the pope in a puffy jacket, created by AI-based image generator Midjourney. The pope in an ostentatious coat may be amusing but the dark side of this technology is no laughing matter. A recent investigation by Kat Tenbarge at NBC News shows just how disturbingly pervasive and accessible nonconsensual deepfake porn has become.

Man ends his life after an AI chatbot 'encouraged' him to sacrifice himself to stop climate change Euronews Imane El Atillah A Belgian man reportedly ended his life following a six-week-long conversation about the climate crisis with an artificial intelligence chatbot.

Video: "Godfather of artificial intelligence" talks impact and potential of new AI CBS News Geoffrey Hinton is considered a godfather of artificial intelligence, having championed machine learning decades before it became mainstream. As chatbots like ChatGPT brings his work to widespread attention, Brook Silva-Braga spoke to Hinton about the past, present and future of AI.

Research

The Chinese conception of cybersecurity: A conceptual, institutional and regulatory genealogy Journal of Contemporary China Rogier Creemers How does the Chinese government define cybersecurity? Security in the digital realm has gained increasing prominence in recent years, both within China’s domestic policy landscape and in its participation with global digital governance. However, the Chinese conception of this term is different from the Western one, and is embedded within the country’s distinctive political, economic and technological context. Drawing on Chinese government documents, this paper will trace the evolution of how successive generations of Chinese leaders have identified digital security concerns, and how they have deployed institutional, regulatory and policy tools to respond to them.

Rand Corporation

Americans have long been fixated on the idea of the short, decisive war. At the start of the American Civil War, Washington gentry traveled to watch the First Battle of Bull Run—to partake of a spectacle they presumed would soon end. In 1898, U.S. Secretary of State John Hay expected the Spanish-American War to be a “splendid little war,” culminating in a quick victory for the newly emerging global power. As U.S. troops neared the Yalu River in November 1950 during the Korean War, Gen. Douglas MacArthur promised (PDF) that his soldiers would “eat Christmas dinner at home.” In 2003, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld predicted that the Iraq War “certainly isn't going to last any longer than [five months].” Multiple administrations underestimated (PDF) the timeline of the war in Afghanistan.

Pacific Forum

Ariel Stenek

Maritime domain awareness (MDA) in the Indo-Pacific is moving from an abstract aspiration to a functional collective security approach for managing the region’s dynamic offshore spaces. To ensure that emerging initiatives like the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) have sealegs, policy planners in regional capitals must consider how to facilitate broad information sharing in ways that uphold the ‘free’ and ‘open’ principles underwriting national Indo-Pacific strategies. This should reflect inclusive maritime agendas and a democratic information sharing culture.


Photo: La Cina di Xi Jinping - Verso un nuovo ordine mondiale sinocentrico? Gabriele e Nicola Iuvinale ASE 2023 Amazon: 👇 https://amazon.it/dp/8888909494?ref=myi_title_dp Antonio Stango Editore 👇 https://stangoeditore.com/prodotto/la-cina-di-xi-jinping/ To download the book index, preface and introduction: https://www.extremarationews.com/reuters-news

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