The Chinese government may be attempting to influence the U.S. election, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a CNN interview today as he ended a three-day trip to China. “We have seen, generally speaking, evidence of attempts to influence and arguably interfere, and we want to make sure that that's cut off as quickly as possible," Blinken said. “Any interference by China in our election is something that we're looking very carefully at and is totally unacceptable to us, so I wanted to make sure that they heard that message again," Blinken said. - Axios

Blinken also raised concerns about the materials and other assistance China has been providing to the Russian military. "Russia would struggle to sustain its assault on Ukraine without China's support," Blinken said after a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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The United States will give Ukraine $6 billion to purchase military hardware directly from American defense companies, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III announced on Friday, expressing confidence that many of the weapons and munitions the country most needs will soon arrive. “This is the largest security assistance package that we’ve committed to date,” Mr. Austin told reporters at the Pentagon. It will include air-defense missiles and artillery ammunition among other offensive and defensive weaponry, he said. Mr. Austin and Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke after a virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a consortium of approximately 50 nations that includes all NATO members, several of the United States’ major non-NATO allies and other countries that have provided military and humanitarian aid to Kyiv. - NYT

China Ends Military Drills Around Taiwan
Other Topics of Interest

China Ends Military Drills Around Taiwan

China's two-day military drills around Taiwan were a "blatant provocation to the international order", Taipei said in a statement Saturday after the war games encircling the self-ruled island ended.

A Russian court sided with state-run lender VTB Bank in its efforts to recoup $439.5 million from JPMorgan Chase that the American lender froze in U.S. accounts after the Ukraine invasion. The court ordered the seizure of funds in JPMorgan's Russian accounts and "movable and immovable property," including the bank's stake in a Russian subsidiary, according to a court order published Wednesday. The order came after VTB filed a suit last week in a St. Petersburg arbitration court, seeking to be made whole for funds frozen in the U.S., and asking for relief because JPMorgan has said it plans to exit Russia. The next hearing in the Russian case is July 17. JPMorgan declined to comment. VTB did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment. The order was the latest example of American banks getting caught between the demands of Western sanctions regimes and overseas interests. JPMorgan is the biggest U.S. bank by assets and run by veteran CEO Jamie Dimon.  - CNBC

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The King is to return to public-facing royal duties, with his medical team "very encouraged" by the progress made in his cancer treatment. The monarch has been receiving outpatient care since early February and despite the good news, palace sources stressed His Majesty is still continuing treatment - Sky News

January 19, 2025 – that’s the deadline Washington has given for China’s ByteDance to divest TikTok’s US assets, or face a ban. The 270-day countdown began on Wednesday after US President Joe Biden signed into law a “sell-or-ban” bill on national security grounds, setting up TikTok for a legal fight to keep the app in the country. “Rest assured – we aren’t going anywhere,” said CEO Chew Shou Zi in a TikTok video. TikTok has repeatedly denied that it harvests data for Beijing or answers to its request to adjust content (what happens on TikTok’s Chinese sibling Douyin is another story). And the Chinese government’s response has been relatively measured. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington said the bill “puts the US on the wrong side of the principles of fair competition and international trade rules”. But Chinese state media are up in arms. CGTN, the English-language channel of China Central Television, calls the US divestiture request a sign of “Sinophobia”. Another opinion piece says the move exposes “a lack of confidence” about China in Washington - SCMP

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