China Persists in Sanctioning U.S. Defence Giants.

Relations between the United States and China have been strained for a few years now, but tensions have increased in recent months due to several geopolitical events. One of them was the visit to Taipei by Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi last July, underpinning the United States’ support for Taiwan’s status. The current US Administration continues to adhere to the one China policy, as most other countries in the world do. In response, over the summer, Beijing increased the number of aggressive military exercises around the islands of the South China Sea, although China’s expert Dean Cheng of Heritage Foundation argued they were “likely pre-planned for months” (Cheng, 2022). Lately, Beijing appears to have at least partially aligned with Western thinking by calling on Russia to end the war in Ukraine as soon as possible, yet friction with Washington has been enhanced by Biden's latest statement regarding Taiwan’s sovereignty. In fact, China was strongly dissatisfied and resolutely opposed to Biden’s comment (Reuters, 2022), when the President of the US declared that US forces would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion.

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The European Union as a Strategic Autonomous and Defence Technological Actor: Between Promises and Reality.

The nexus between the concepts of European Strategic Autonomy (EU-SA) and the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) concerns the old willingness of the European Union (EU) to thrive as a global defence actor with autonomous decision-making and freedom of action. However, to do so, it is indispensable to achieve stronger technological sovereignty through balanced cooperation between Member States (MSs). The latter lack, inter alia, a common strategic culture, that is delaying the competitiveness and readiness of the European defence industry while leaving behind crucial investments in modern defence technologies. The EU finds itself in a reality where national interests prevail in a fragmented market with abundant duplicates of capabilities and collective budgetary deficiencies. For instance, this paper shall delve into the reasons why the EU is not yet a strategic autonomous and defence technological actor after actively working on this since 2013. This shall be done through an analysis of the two concepts – EU-SA and EDTIB – and an evaluation of the status quo. The final goal of this project is to prove that the prevalence of national interests over collective technological sovereignty is clogging the implementation of a tangible military-industrial base, without which the EU cannot become a strategic autonomous player in the defence industry.

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International Humanitarian Law in Urban Warfare

Urban environments have increasingly been at the forefront of a number of armed conflicts. This should come as no surprise, since an urban setting has the capability of producing a number of advantages for the defending side by negating any numerical or mechanical advantage the opposing force may have. In addition, cities make it easier for combatants to hide and blend in with the civilian population and conduct irregular military activities. While this might constitute an advantage for the conduct of military operations, it means that civilians could become entrenched in a combat situation. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that all sides of a conflict maintain the utmost regard for international humanitarian law. In line with the current conflict in Ukraine, this contribution will focus on the scope of international humanitarian law in an international armed conflict, between two or more internationally recognised States. As such, this InfoFlash aims to provide a general overview of three of the main principles which are of special interest in an urban environment: the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution.

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NATO’s Interoperability in the Asia-Pacific Area

Last February, Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping solidified their mutually supportive relationship with the issuance of the Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development. In the document, Russia reaffirms its support for the one China policy in reference to the Taiwan dispute. In return, China opposes the NATO enlargement policy by opposing both the inclusion of Eastern European countries and the increase of the North Atlantic Council’s interests in Pacific Asia. As a result of this geopolitical shift, NATO had to revaluate its strategic agenda in both Europe and Asia-Pacific. The 2022 Strategic Concept can be considered the main pillar of a new, more cohesive NATO strategy.

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Arms Transfer Through the European Peace Facility

Since the beginning of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the EU has provided about €2.5 billion worth of military assistance to Ukraine through the European Peace Facility (EPF), with some of the weapons coming from the EU countries’ stocks (Preussen, 2022). The EPF is a fund of €5 billion financed outside the EU Budget for a period of seven years (2021-2027), established by Council Decision (CFSP) 2021/509 of 22 March 2021 based on Articles 30 and 41 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) (Council of the European Union, 2021).

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