Nord Stream leaks remain mystery
- The Swedish coast guard announced the fourth leak on the Nord Stream gas pipelines. The hole found today is the second on Nord Stream 2 after the one discovered on September 26. On Tuesday, two leaks were reported on the Nord Stream 1. Two of the four breaches are in the Danish exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and the other two are in Sweden’s EEZ. The EU believes the incidents were “the result of a deliberate act.”
- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the assumption that it was behind the possible attacks, saying, "Are we interested in that? No, we are not, we have lost a route for gas supplies to Europe." In a Telegraph post, Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova asked President Joe Biden, who in February said he would terminate Nord Stream 2 if Russia invaded Ukraine, to explain.
- In a short statement on Tuesday, EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, "Any deliberate disruption of European energy infrastructure is utterly unacceptable and will be met with a robust and united response."
- Also on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the possible sabotage was “clearly in no one’s interest.” However, yesterday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre sidestepped a question on whether the “united response” mentioned in the EU statement includes the U.S.
Solomons rejects to sign U.S.-Pacific declaration
- The Solomon Islands told other Pacific Islands countries that it would not sign the declaration between states in the region and the U.S. The diplomatic note was sent out hours before the U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit from Wednesday to Thursday. In the note, Honiara also said there was no consensus on the document, and it needs more time to reflect.
- The 11-point declaration was created to provide a base for intensified engagement between the U.S. and the Pacific Islands states. According to some Pacific leaders, the declaration is similar to the agreement China failed to secure during Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s tour to the region in May and June.
Yuan drops to lowest since 2008
- On Wednesday, the onshore yuan slid to 7.2409 against the U.S. dollar, its lowest level since 2008. With a loss of more than 4% so far this year, the onshore yuan is likely to have the worst annual depreciation since 1994. On the same day, the offshore unit weakened to a record low in data back to 2010.
- At a meeting on Tuesday, Vice Governor of the People’s Bank of China Liu Guoqiang warned (Zh) investors that the two-way fluctuation of the yuan would be the norm. “Do not bet on a one-sided appreciation or deprecation of the renminbi exchange rate, or you’ll inevitably lose if you do this constantly,” Liu said.
Harris condemns China over Taiwan
- U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris called China’s actions in the Taiwan Strait “disturbing,” vowing to keep supporting Taiwan’s self-defense. Harris made the remarks at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan on Wednesday. During her meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on Tuesday, the Vice President accused China of “aggressive and irresponsible provocations” in the Strait.
Japan aims for summit with China
- China and Japan celebrate their 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations today. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida sent congratulatory messages (Zh) to each other in the morning. According to Kyodo News, Kishida aims to (Zh) have the first in-person talks with the Chinese leader after the meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Xi in December 2019.
Russia may incorporate four regions on Oct. 4
- The Russian Federation Council, the upper house of the state’s parliament, is considering to confirm Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson to become parts of Russia. On Wednesday, the leaderships of the four regions have formally requested to join the federation after people voted overwhelmingly to support the incorporation.
- Soon after the voting results were unveiled, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Ukraine can use weapons provided by the U.S. to retake the regions. He also said his country was "prepared and we will impose additional severe and swift costs on Russia for proceeding with the annexations.”