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Daily Category  (International Relations)

U.K. Warship Makes Rare Transit via Taiwan Strait

Context:

  • The Royal Navy of British warship was sailing through the Taiwan Strait on Monday.

Key Details:

  • This move challenges Beijing’s claim to the sensitive waterway and marks a rare voyage by a non-U.S. military vessel.

  • It was the first time a British warship had transited through the narrow waterway separating Taiwan and mainland China.

  • The British Navy survey ship HMS Enterprise transited through the strait in 2019.

See the source image

Freedom of Navigation:

  • U.S. warships regularly conduct “freedom of navigation” exercises in the strait and trigger angry responses from Beijing, which claims Taiwan and surrounding waters — and almost all of the South China Sea.

  • The U.S. and most other countries view those areas as international waters that should be open to all vessels.

‘Evil intentions’:

  • China commented that this kind of behaviour harbours evil intentions and damages peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

Military threats:

  • Until recently, Washington was the main global power willing to sail through the Taiwan Strait.

  • But a growing number of U.S. allies have transited the route as Beijing intensifies its military threats towards Taiwan and solidifies its control over the disputed South China Sea.

  • Canadian, French and Australian warships have all made voyages through the Taiwan Strait in recent years.

Taiwan v. China:

  • Taiwan’s 23 million people live under constant threat of invasion by authoritarian China, which has vowed to seize the island one day — by force if necessary.

  • Beijing has stepped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwan since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, who views the island as “already independent”.

Taiwan Strait:

  • The Taiwan Strait is a 180-kilometer (110 mi)-wide strait separating the island of Taiwan and continental Asia.

  • The strait is part of the South China Sea and connects to the East China Sea to the north.

  • Former names of the Taiwan Strait include the Formosa Strait or Strait of Formosa.

Source: The Hindu

Why Brazil Always Speaks First at The UN General Assembly

Context:

  • 76th UN General Assembly Begins In New York

World leaders speak at United Nations General Assembly | United Nations  News | Al Jazeera

Key Details:

  • Long-standing traditions govern several of the practices followed by the United Nations even today.

  • Everything from the order of speakers, to the length of their speeches, is laid down in a complex set of conventions and bylaws.

  • The General Assembly Debate is divided into two segments each day — a morning session and an afternoon session.

  • Every year since the 10th UNGA in 1955, Brazil has been the first to address the delegation, followed by the United States.

But why does Brazil always get to speak first?

  • Some assume that the order is determined alphabetically, this is not the case.

  • During the early years of formation of UN after the end of World War II, most countries were reluctant to be the first to address the chamber.

  • Brazil, at the time, was the only country that volunteered to speak first.

  • Some say that the tradition dates back to 1947, when Brazil’s top diplomat Oswaldo Aranha presided over the Assembly’s First Special Session.

  • He was also elected president of the second session of the General Assembly.

  • This year, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro kept the tradition going by delivering the opening speech at the international forum on Tuesday.

So, why does the US go next?

  • In the list of speakers, the United States always goes second after Brazil as it is the host nation.

  • This year, US President Joe Biden addressed the chamber, detailing his vision for a new era of diplomacy in his first-ever UNGA speech since assuming office, earlier this year.

What is the order of the General Debate?

  • To begin with, the General Debate is called to order by the President of the General Assembly, which this year is Ecuadorean Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés.

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will introduce the Annual Report on the Activities of the Organization. The debate is then opened after the president makes a speech.

How is the order of the remaining speakers determined?

  • After the first two speeches, the order of speakers depends on a number of factors.

  • Generally the order is determined by the rank of the representative — heads of state, heads of government, crown princes, and foreign ministers would be amongst the initial speakers, followed by deputies and ambassadors.

  • Other criteria like geographic balance also play a role in determining the order.

India at UNGA:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be addressing the chamber of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) this year.

  • According to the provisional list of speakers released by the UNGA, PM Modi is slated to speak on September 25.

United Nations (UN)

  • The United Nations (UN) is a global organisation tasked with maintaining international peace and security while fostering friendly relations among nations.

  • It is the largest, most recognized and most powerful intergovernmental organisation in the world.

  • At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; this number grew to 193 in 2011, representing the vast majority of the world’s sovereign states.

Birth of UN:

  • The UN was formed following the devastating World War II, with the aim of preventing future global-scale conflicts.

  • It was a successor to the ineffective League of Nations.

  • The representatives of 50 governments met in San Francisco on 25 April 1945, to draft what would become the UN Charter.

  • The Charter was adopted on 25 June 1945 and came into effect on 24 October 1945.

United Nations Structure

  • The UN is structured around five principal organs:

    1. General Assembly

    2. United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

    3. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

    4. International Court of Justice (ICJ)

    5. UN Secretariat.

  • A sixth principal organ, the Trusteeship Council, suspended operations on 1 November 1994, upon the independence of Palau, the last remaining UN trustee territory.

  • The UN Charter stipulates that each primary organ of the United Nations can establish various specialized agencies to fulfil its duties. There are 17 specialized agencies of the UN.

UNGA (UN General assembly)

  • Deliberative assembly of all the UN member states

  • May resolve non-compulsory recommendations to states or suggestions to the Security Council (UNSC);

  • Decides on the admission of new members, following a proposal by the UNSC;

  • Adopts the budget;

  • Elects the non-permanent members of the UNSC; all members of ECOSOC; the UN Secretary-General (following his/her proposal by the UNSC); and the fifteen judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Each country has one vote.

India’s Contribution towards the UN

  • India has been an active member of the UN since its inception.

  • In 1946, India became the first country to raise the issues of racism and apartheid in South Africa in the UN forum.

  • India played an important part in the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

  • The first woman president of the UNGA was an Indian, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, in 1953.

  • India has contributed immensely to UN Peacekeeping Missions in various parts of the world.

  • India has been regularly one of the largest contributor of troops to the missions.

  • Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence resonate deeply with the UN’s principles. In 2007, the UN declared Gandhi’s birth anniversary of October 2 as the ‘International Day of Non-violence’.

  • In 2014, the UNGA declared that 21st June would be observed as International Yoga Day.

Source: IE; Wikipedia

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)

Context:

  • Taiwan has applied to join CPTPP, setting up a potential clash with rival Beijing over the status of the island democracy.

What Is Diffrence Between RCEP And CPTPP | Burning Issues | PDF

CPTPP- China v. Taiwan

  • China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and said the island has no right to join international bodies.

  • China also applied last week to join the CPTPP.

  • Taiwan said the its application to join the CPTPP might be disrupted if China, which applied last week, is admitted first.

  • China has been obstructing Taiwan’s opportunities in the international arena. If China joins ahead of Taiwan, it will endanger Taiwan’s application.

  • China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since the Communist Party took control of the mainland in 1949 following a civil war.

    • They have extensive trade and investment ties but no official relations.

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP):

  • It took effect in 2018.

  • Agreements: It includes agreements on market access, movement of labour and government procurement.

  • Members: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.

  • The CPTPP was the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a group promoted by then-President Barack Obama in 2016.

  • It evolved from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which never entered into force due to the withdrawal of the United States.

  • His successor, Donald Trump, pulled out in 2017.  President Joe Biden has not rejoined.

  • The eleven signatories have combined economies representing 13.4 % of global gross domestic product, at approximately US$13.5 trillion.

  • Thus, making the CPTPP one of the world's largest free-trade areas by GDP, along with the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, the European Single Market and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Source: Indian Express

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Taliban 

CONTEXT:

  • A meeting of foreign ministers from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, which was set to be held in New York, has been cancelled.