Global SITREP for Thursday, 23 May 2024 – Forward Observer

Global SITREP for Thursday, 23 May 2024

Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Thursday, 23 May 2024.

  1. BLINKEN: CHINESE COMPANIES TIED TO CARTELS: Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified before the House of Representatives that some Chinese companies are financially tied with the Mexican Cartels.
  • He also testified that the Chinese government has made some moves to curb fentanyl precursor production but has not made any real difference.

Why It Matters: China’s financial ties to the cartels have long been suspected and are now confirmed. China very likely holds most of Europe, its diaspora, and Japan responsible for the Century of Humiliation that started with the Opium Wars. China is unlikely to take any meaningful steps to curb this as they likely intend to inflict a similar Century of Humiliation on all the participants. – J.V.

  1. CHINESE DRILLS AROUND TAIWAN TO CLOSE OUT WEEK: China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched all-service drills around Taiwan as “a strong punishment for ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces seeking ‘independence’ and a serious warning against interference and provocation by external forces.” The drills will last until Friday evening.
  • Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense has dispatched aerial, naval, Coast Guard, and land assets to monitor the PLA’s drills.
  • The Ministry tracked 15 PLA Navy vessels, 16 Coast Guard vessels, and 42 aircraft around Taiwan.
  • The Ministry also urged Taiwan’s citizens to work together with the military to “build a vital defensive force to jointly safeguard our beautiful homeland.”
  • Japan condemned China’s actions and said they would communicate directly with China about this.

Why It Matters: These drills are unlikely to culminate in any substantial movement on the Taiwan issue. However, Taiwan’s defense force presence and calls for a total war footing could lead to a miscalculation by the PLA or an accidental engagement. – J.V.

PLA Drill locations Source: Taiwan News, originally published by the PLA Eastern Theater Command

  • Global Rollup
    • Wu Cheng-wen, Taiwan’s Technology Minister, said that the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and ASML Holding NV could remotely disable their manufacturing lines in the event of a conflict over Taiwan. ASML made this assurance to the Dutch government.
    • China, Japan, and South Korea finalized the details of their head-of-state meeting. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, and Chinese Premier Li Qiang will meet for the first time in five years next week. (This meeting is likely to include Japan’s “direct communication” with China about the drills, which would sour the air of the meeting. – J.V.)
    • Poland’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Pawel Wronski told the media that Poland had not made a decision but was considering using its air defense assets to shoot down Russian missiles over Western Ukraine.
    • Denmark will vote next week on Palestinian recognition. A positive vote would bring European recognition to 19 states.

THAT’S A WRAP: This does it for today’s edition. Thank you for reading. If you know folks who would also like to receive this email, would you please forward it to them? We appreciate you spreading the word. – M.S.

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