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Pakistan suspends military and intel ties with US

Gorkha Post

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ISLAMABAD — Pakistan is suspending military ties and intelligence sharing with the United States, the Pakistani defense minister said, following accusations and aid cuts by President Donald Trump.

Speaking at a public event set up by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) on Tuesday, Defense Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan told the gathering that “there is also a wide field of intelligence cooperation and defense cooperation which we have suspended,” according to the Pakistan Tribune.

He said the suspension of military and intelligence ties comes on the heels of a recent announcement by US President Donald Trump that Washington was going to curb aid flows to Pakistan.

“Now all veils are off… It is time for a courteous yet ruthlessly candid dialogue between Pakistan and the United States,” he said.

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US officials have said in a series of recent statements that almost all security assistance to Pakistan has been suspended following President Donald Trump’s Tweet on January 1, in which he had alleged that Pakistan “gives safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help.”

Mr Trump also said, “United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools.”

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Islamabad has denied Pakistan’s claims of military or intelligence ties being suspended, Voice of America reported.

“We have not received any formal communication regarding a suspension,” embassy spokesman Richard Snelsire said.

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China conduct live fire drill along southeast coastline

Thompson Reuters

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BEIJING — China’s military has conducted live-fire drills along the southeast coastline, state television reported, but it was unclear if these were the same exercises that had been flagged as taking place in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

The government had said the drills would happen on Wednesday off the city of Quanzhou, in between two groups of islands close to China’s coast but that Taiwan has controlled since 1949 when defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war.

Chinese state media has said the drills were a direct response to “provocations” by Taiwan leaders related to what China fears are moves to push for the self-ruled island’s formal independence. China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory.

Late on Wednesday, Chinese state television showed footage of helicopters firing missiles during an exercise it said was happening on China’s southeast coast.

State television only showed pictures of helicopters, with no mention of ships or other military equipment such as tanks or amphibious assault vehicles.

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The exercises took place from 8 a.m. (0000GMT) until midnight, the report said, giving the same time frame for the previously announced drills in the Taiwan Strait.

The Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exercise, and whether it was the same ones previously reported to be happening in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan on Wednesday denounced the exercises, saying Beijing was using “cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling” to threaten the island.

Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint. China has ramped up military exercises around Taiwan in the past year, including flying bombers around the island.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday afternoon two Chinese H-6K bombers had flown around the island, passing first through the Miyako Strait to Taiwan’s northeast and then back to base via the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines.

The latest Chinese military movements come during a time of heightened tension between Beijing and the island and follows strong warnings by Chinese President Xi Jinping against Taiwan separatism last month.

China claims Taiwan as its own and considers it a breakaway province.

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