On 26 July, one day after Niger’s presidential guard detained democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum, the army command endorsed the coup orchestrated by Abdourahmane Tchiani who, while declaring himself the leader of the newly established military junta, claimed that economic hardship, corruption and deteriorating security had made such move necessary (Schotte, 2023). After seizing power, the junta started to crack down on key political figures and fundamental freedoms: on 30 July, it arrested the ministers of petroleum, education and mines, as well as the ruling party’s head (Mednick, 2023). Meanwhile, junta spokesman Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane banned the use of social media to spread content which would allegedly harm national security (Mednick, 2023).
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.