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At the Beijing shore, China’s leaders muse Taiwan

This week, the crème de la crème of China’s ruling Communist Party wrapped up its annual summer retreat at the coastal resort town of Beidaihe, east of Beijing. The closed-door, low-key gathering was this year supposed to be just another milestone before the 20th Party Congress in the fall, when Xi Jinping is expected to secure a norm-defying third term as CCP secretary-general.

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Cricket fans, with their faces painted in the Indian and Pakistani national flag colors, ahead of a match between the two countries.

REUTERS/Amit Dave

What We’re Watching: Partition 75th anniversary, Kenyan vote count, US-China in Southeast Asia

India & Pakistan turn 75

This year’s Aug. 15 Diamond Jubilee of Partition, when the British Raj split into India and Pakistan, is a complicated affair. India has gained more from independence in 1947 than Pakistan: earlier this summer, the Indian economy crossed the $3.3 trillion mark and officially overtook the UK to become the world’s fifth-largest — a nice touch to celebrate 75 years of independence from its colonial master. But India’s democratic credentials remain under threat by the rise of Hindu nationalism. However, Pakistan’s experiments after Partition — proxy wars, civil war, martial law, and Islamism — brought much suffering to its people. Today, the country is at the verge of another financial crisis and negotiating its 23rd IMF bailout, as well as in talks with its own version of the Taliban. Unfortunately, a growing nuclear arsenal is the only equalizer for the political and economic imbalance between the two countries. But there is still hope yet. After years of making zero progress, India and Pakistan are now involved in a backchannel dialogue, which may bring some normalcy between the old enemies. That, and the cricket, of course: Pakistan has won more games overall against its arch-rival, but never beaten India in a World Cup match.

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A model of the Chinese fighter aircraft seen in front of Chinese and Taiwanese flags.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

As China aims to change Taiwan’s status quo, US does damage control

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial trip last week to show solidarity with democratic Taiwan made more than a splash.

China’s unprecedented live-fire military exercises have changed the status quo of how far it can breach into territory that the self-governing island controls. Meanwhile, the US tried to manage the crisis without ruffling more feathers, Taipei pushed back with its own war games, and the wider region braced for impact.

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A newspaper front page reporting about Nancy Pelosi's Taiwan visit is pictured in Taipei.

REUTERS/Ann Wang

Symbolism matters — Taiwan's post-Pelosi politics

Now that US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has left Taiwan, most of the attention will likely shift to how China responds, how the US responds to China's response, and how this all plays out in US domestic politics. But spare a thought for the self-governing democratic island of 23 million caught in the crossfire between Beijing and Washington.

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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meets with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei.

EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

As Pelosi tours Taiwan, China flexes its military muscle

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doubled down Wednesday on America’s support for Taiwan during her controversial visit to the self-governing island, to which China responded with the biggest show of military force since the last major US-China standoff over Taiwan 25 years ago.

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Paige Fusco

The Graphic Truth: China swarming Taiwan's skies

Nancy Pelosi touched down in Taiwan on Tuesday night, becoming the first US House speaker to visit the self-governing island in 25 years.

After weeks of uncertainty, a lukewarm response from President Joe Biden, Taiwanese jitters, and repeated threats from Beijing, the US military aircraft carrying Pelosi landed in Taipei unharmed. She traveled from Singapore on a much longer route to avoid the South China Sea airspace contested by China.

Still, China made it clear to the world how it feels about the trip by putting on a big show of force, including live-fire drills in waters surrounding Taiwan. Almost on cue, Beijing also scrambled 21 fighter jets into the island's Air Defense Identification Zone, getting very close to the Taiwan Strait median line that limits Taiwanese airspace.

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Osama bin Laden sits with his successor Ayman al-Zawahri.

REUTERS/Hamid Mir

What We’re Watching: US kills Al-Qaida leader, Pelosi's Taiwan pit stop, Yemen holds its breath, tensions rise between Kosovo and Serbs

US kills al-Qaida leader

President Joe Biden addressed the nation Monday night to make an announcement 21 years in the making: the US killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri in a drone strike in Kabul over the weekend. Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man and key architect in the 9/11 terror attacks was killed in the first US attack in Afghanistan since the American withdrawal last August. The operation – a major counterterrorism coup for Biden – reportedly saw al-Zawahri killed at the home of a staffer to senior Taliban leader Sirajuddin Haqqani. A CIA ground team, with the help of aerial reconnaissance, has confirmed the death. “My hope is that this decisive action will bring one more measure of closure,” Biden told loved ones of 9/11 victims. He also warned that the US “will always remain vigilant … to ensure the safety and security of Americans at home and around the globe.” With al-Qaida franchises having cropped up globally over the past decade, the death of Zawahri – who was wary of the brand’s localization and its effect on his authority – will present a challenge for control of the militant group.

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A reporter raises a hand to ask a question to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington, DC.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Will she, won’t she? The fallout from Pelosi’s Taiwan talk

Nancy Pelosi’s office announced Sunday that the US House speaker will be going this week to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Japan. But no mention of Taiwan, even after she met Singaporean officials on Monday.

This doesn’t necessarily mean she’s skipping her previously announced intention to tour the self-governing island of 24 million claimed by China. Perhaps the stopover was left out of her finalized itinerary anyway due to “security concerns” following threats from Beijing and the cold shoulder from the Pentagon and the White House.

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