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Nuclear submarines will not deter China from conflict with Taiwan

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Nuclear submarines will not deter China from conflict with Taiwan, but Australia has an alternative arsenal

Six days after China applied to join the CPTTP, Taiwan submitted its own application.

For an emerging superpower prone to petulant outbursts and coercive retaliation, China’s initial response to the recent announcement of the new three-way security pact between Australia, the United States and Britain seemed surprisingly tepid.

Hours after the trio unveiled their “forever partnership”, known as Aukus, China formally requested that it be allowed to join an 11-member Asia-Pacific trade grouping, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

This was an odd move by China, whose application requires the consent of the grouping’s members, which include Australia. In recent years, China has responded to previous perceived slights from Canberra by imposing economic sanctions worth $20bn and freezing ministerial contacts.

Now, it was effectively seeking a favour from Canberra, even though Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, had just announced plans to buy nuclear submarines and signalled that he was seriously preparing for the possibility that US-China tensions will spill into war.

But China’s application to join the trade pact was carefully timed. It allowed China to demonstrate its commitment to global free trade and to contrast its approach with that of the US, which withdrew from the grouping.

More significantly, China’s application was primarily designed to head off a long-awaited bid by Taiwan to join. China, which regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, regularly tries to prevent other states dealing with Taiwan at an official level.

Taiwan’s chief trade negotiator John Deng told reporters: “If China joins first, Taiwan’s membership case should be quite risky. This is quite obvious.”

This wrangling over the CPTTP attracted less attention than the Aukus announcement, but it highlights a crucial feature of the frightening rise in tensions between China and the US.

China, in its quest for “reunification” with Taiwan, is playing on two separate battlefields.

First, and most blatantly, it is expanding its military at a frantic pace and using its air force and navy to intimidate Taiwan. In the past week, for instance, China has set an almost daily record for its fighter jet interventions into Taiwan’s air defence zone.

Last Friday, on China’s national day, it sent 38 planes towards Taiwan; on Saturday, it was 39; on Monday, it was 56. The US, a close backer and arms supplier of Taiwan, described China’s flights as “provocative”.

But China is also operating on a separate front. It is trying to isolate Taiwan on the world stage and to ensure that Taiwan’s status is downgraded in international diplomatic and economic arenas. So, as Morrison was still speaking to the Australian media about Aukus and submarines, the Chinese commerce minister wrote to the New Zealand government – which holds formal documents relating to the CPTTP – to join the group.

The lesson for Australia is that, as US-China ties deteriorate, it needs to avoid picking the wrong battlefield.

As the gap between China’s military and Australia’s widens, it is unlikely that Australia’s capability – even with a fleet of nuclear submarines, supplied by its Aukus partners – will determine the balance of military power in the Indo-Pacific.

Despite being the world’s 12th biggest-military spender, Australia’s annual defence budget is now just 10% of China’s.

Australia plans to have the first of its eight nuclear submarines in the water by the late 2030s. China, which has the world’s largest navy, currently has a fleet of about 62 submarines, including 12 that are nuclear-powered.

By 2040, it is due to have 26 nuclear submarines. The US currently has 68 submarines; all are nuclear-powered. Australia’s submarines and other forces can be used for a variety of purposes, including defence of the Australian mainland – but, in the terrifying case of a standoff over Taiwan, they will not be decisive.

Yet, on the other battlefield, Australia’s capabilities are more imposing. In the arena of international trade and diplomacy, Australia, which is the world’s 13th largest economy and – historically – a committed supporter of strong international institutions, has genuine clout.

Australia has worked to create and strengthen bodies such as Apec, which includes China and Taiwan, and the G20, which includes China only.

The CPTTP exists largely because Australia, along with Japan, worked to save it after Donald Trump pulled out in 2017. Now China is seeking to join.

The Chinese embassy – which famously released a 14-point list of grievances with Canberra – has written to the Australian parliament to make its case, saying China’s membership would “yield large economic benefits”.

Australia responded hesitantly, insisting that China should not be allowed to join the CPTPP until it meets its international trade obligations and lifts its current sanctions on Australian exports such as beef, wine and barley.

Australia will hold further sway as it considers whether Taiwan should be allowed entry. China says Taiwan should not be allowed to join the grouping or any other official organisation.

Australia should deploy its clout in the international arena carefully. It can try to encourage an easing of US-China tensions and to discourage provocations.

Taiwan is warning that war is looming. But Australia will be able to do little to alter the course of an actual conflict.

Instead, it can join others to deliver a strong message to China about the potential cost of an attempt to take Taiwan by force.

Australia’s yet-to-be-commissioned submarines will not dissuade Beijing from military intervention, but it has an alternative arsenal that currently seems to be more successful in demanding China’s attention.

Jonathan Pearlman is editor of Australian Foreign Affairs.

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Tems, Wizkid bag wins at BET Awards 2022 (Full list of winners)

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Tems, Wizkid bag wins at BET Awards 2022 (Full list of winners)

Nigerian music superstars, Tems and Wizkid bagged impressive wins at the recently concluded Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards ceremony on Monday, June 27.

On the eventful night that took place at the Microsoft Theatre, Los Angeles, Tems whose real name is Temilade Openiyi went home with two awards.

First, Tems and Wizkid alongside Canadian recording artiste, Justin Bieber received an award for ‘Best Collaboration’ for the song, ‘Essence’; with the win, ‘Essence’ has emerged as the first African song to win a BET award and Wizkid becomes the first Nigerian and African to win an Award outside the Best International Acts category.

Moments later, Tems, emerged as the winner of the Best International Act.

The Nigerian singer, songwriter and record producer was nominated with other talented acts such as Fireboy, Dave from the UK, Dinos from France, Fally Ipupa from Congo, Little Simz from the UK, Ludmilla from Brazil, Major League Djz from South Africa, and Tayc from France.

Tems also made history at the 2022 BET awards when she became the first African female to win the Best International Category.

With her win at the 2022 BET awards, Tems joins Ice Prince, Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy as Nigerians who have won the BET Awards.

Watch the moment she received her award below.

In addition to the usual honors, Diddy was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award. He joins Whitney Houston, Prince, Queen Latifah, Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige, Samuel Jackson, and many more in receiving the honor.

Check out the full list of winners below.

BEST FEMALE R&B/POP ARTIST

Jazmine Sullivan — WINNER

BEST MALE R&B/POP ARTIST

The Weeknd – WINNER

BEST GROUP


Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak) – WINNER

BEST COLLABORATION

Wizkid f. Justin Bieber & Tems – “Essence” – WINNER

BEST FEMALE HIP HOP ARTIST

Megan Thee Stallion – WINNER

BEST MALE HIP HOP ARTIST

Kendrick Lamar – WINNER

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak) – “Smokin Out The Window” – WINNER

VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

Anderson .Paak – WINNER

BEST NEW ARTIST

Latto — WINNER

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak) – An Evening with Silk Sonic – WINNER

DR. BOBBY JONES BEST GOSPEL/INSPIRATIONAL AWARD

Lil Baby X Kirk Franklin – “We Win” – WINNER

BET HER

Mary J. Blige – “Good Morning Gorgeous” – WINNER

BEST INTERNATIONAL ACT

Tems (Nigeria) – WINNER

BEST MOVIE

King Richard – WINNER

BEST ACTOR

Will Smith – “King Richard” – WINNER

BEST ACTRESS

Zendaya – “Euphoria” / “Spider-Man: No Way Home” – WINNER

YOUNGSTARS AWARD

Marsai Martin — WINNER

SPORTSWOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD

Naomi Osaka – WINNER

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD

Stephen Curry – WINNER

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BREAKING: Justice Tanko Muhammad Resigns As CJN

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BREAKING: Justice Tanko Muhammad Resigns As CJN

The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Tanko Muhammad, has resigned, Channels Television learned on Monday.

Sources told Channels Television that Justice Muhammad resigned on Sunday night, citing ill-health as the reason for his decision.

Information also has it that arrangements are ongoing to swear in the next most senior justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

According to reports, a formal announcement will be made shortly.

Until his resignation, reports had it that Justice Muhammad was seriously ill.

Last week, 14 justices of the Supreme Court had written him a letter to lament the decrepit state of affairs in the apex court.

In the leaked letter, the Justices accused the CJN of refusing to address the issues despite drawing his attention to them.

They complained of a lack of residential accommodation and vehicles at the court.

The justices further accused the CJN of gallivanting with his “spouse, children and personal staff,” while not allowing them to travel with an assistant on foreign trips.

The justices decried the lack of legal research assistants, despite the magnitude of cases being adjudicated.

On erratic electricity supply, the justices said they have been confined to work between the “hours of 8 a.m and 4 p.m daily, for lack of diesel,” after they were notified of the development by the Supreme Court’s Chief Registrar, Hajo Bello.

Meanwhile, Justice Tanko Muhammed did not attend the opening of the training for Judges on Alternative Dispute Resolution organized by the National Judicial Institute, amidst reports of resignation.

Although no Supreme Court Justice is present at the event.

Training of Judges by the Institute is usually declared open by the CJN or any of his representatives. however, the Administrator of the Institute, Justice Garba has opened the session.

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2023: I’m Still Searching For My Running Mate – Tinubu

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2023: I’m Still Searching For My Running Mate – Tinubu

Ahead of the 2023 general election, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, on Sunday said he is still searching for his running mate.

He stated this in Abuja while delivering his keynote address at the 60th birthday celebration of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila. The ex-Lagos Governor also heaped praises on the Speaker for his contributions to his political ambition of becoming Nigeria’s President and democracy, while extolling the virtues of his Deputy, Hon Idris Wase, for being a dependable ally.

“I could see a Deputy (Wase) sitting down there too, you are very good symbols of unity, dependability, and honesty, thank you. Thank you for both of you, you’ve not rocked the boat. I will need to learn from both of you, how you made the pair work because I’m still searching for my running mate,” Tinubu said.

“What you did during my primary (APC presidential election) is a story for another day. I’ve spent more time, too many times and people might be bored, they might be envious too, they might be jealous. I won a landslide, I thank you.

“Femi, with your determination, and reach, you are a contributor to our democratic growth, thank you. It is about charting a path to success, you’ve done a good job and I say thank you, thank you.”

Also speaking, President Muhammadu Buhari described Gbajabiamila as a team player and a skillful parliamentarian.

A file photo of APC preisdential candidate, Bola Tinubu.

Buhari, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, said the Speaker is one who looks beyond differences for the benefit of all.

“For him what matters is not so much the party differences but what unites Nigerians and that is why he is a passionate advocate for a peaceful democracy and unity of Nigeria. And no amount of parliamentary maneuvers or differences between parties would deviate him from this,” he said.

“He introduced the term legislative diplomacy. When there were issues between Nigerian and Ghanaian traders, he went to Accra and met with his colleagues and tried to resolve the issue.

“Mr President is very proud of the fact that he did not need to interfere in how the National Assembly runs because he had trust in the capacity in the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives and therefore he feels that with capable hands in both chambers of the NASS there is no need to interfere.

“It is also a fact that under the Speaker and leader of the Senate, there is no automatic opposition and antagonism to the executive. The role of the legislature is not to be antagonistic as a matter of routine, but to be partners for good governance for the people of Nigeria. They are working together to make Nigeria better.”

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