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US defense bill spends big against China’s maritime claims

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday signed into law an $886 billion defense bill that includes US$16 billion to deter China’s expansive maritime claims and approves exemptions for Australia and the United Kingdom to buy American defense technology without licenses. The 2024 National Defense Authorization Act was passed by the Senate on Dec. 18 in…

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The limits of a Russia-China partnership that claims to have none

Three weeks before Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine last year, President Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping – an event shunned by Western leaders. In a 5,300-word joint statement issued the same day, Xi and Putin said their friendship had “no limits”…

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Tourist rubles ensure warm welcome for Russians in Thailand

>>> Read the more on Bear East Ask any Russian person which country in Southeast Asia they have heard about and you’d probably hear “Thailand.” Russian tourists are crowding its beaches, bars and even its Orthodox churches. That’s not just a sign of Thailand’s legendary reputation for hospitality and knack for catering to foreign visitors…

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Foreign ministers wield new brooms in Cambodia and Thailand

Shortly after being appointed Thailand’s new foreign minister in early September, Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara made a telling remark: “We want the Thai people to feel that the foreign ministry is contributing to their lives.”  Sok Chenda Sophea, Cambodia’s new foreign minister, appointed a few days before Parnpree, told his new ambassadors: “All of you should work…

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Russian soldier in Ukraine discusses North Korean weapons in video

Video of a Russian soldier in Ukraine talking about ammunition supplied by North Korea surfaced on social media this week, apparently debunking denials by Pyongyang and Moscow that the isolated East Asian country is supplying weapons for the war there. A video titled “Multiple rocket launcher (MRL) extended-range shells kindly provided by North Korean comrades…

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