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Ari Winkleman

What We’re Watching: US mulls China sanctions, Uzbek talks focus on ‘cooperation,’ US train strike averted

Will the US preemptively sanction China over Taiwan?

If you thought US-China ties couldn't get any icier, think again. Washington is reportedly mulling sanctions in a bid to deter Beijing from invading Taiwan — and nudging the EU to follow suit. No specifics yet, but the package would presumably target the Chinese military, which has upped the muscle-flexing ante near the self-ruled island since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taipei in early August. Such a move would be similar to how the US and its allies warned Russia there would be a steep price to pay for invading Ukraine. Taiwan would welcome preemptive sanctions and has long called for the Americans and, more recently, the Europeans to do more to protect the island against Chinese aggression. But any sanctions would also rile Xi Jinping, who’s up for “reelection” next month and has vowed to reunite the island with the mainland before the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic in 2049 – by force, if necessary. While the White House has refused to comment, a sanctions plan could signal that US intelligence believes Xi might make a play for Taiwan sooner rather than later.

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Luisa Vieira

China-Russia relationship status: It’s complicated

The presidents of China and Russia will meet in person this week for the first time since early February, shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine. Back then, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin announced in Beijing a bilateral friendship "without limits." Seven months later, the relationship has strengthened but also seen trouble — and this is likely to continue.

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Protest against the war in Ukraine outside the consulate general of Russia in Almaty.

REUTERS/Shamil Zhumato

“How do we live?” Central Asia treads carefully with Ukraine war

The impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has echoed around the world, but spare a thought for the five former Soviet republics of Central Asia. All have close economic and cultural ties to Russia, but they also have reasons to be wary of what Vladimir Putin has done in Ukraine.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Zelensky arrive for a joint press conference in Kyiv.

Irina Yakovleva/TASS via Reuters Connect

Watching the War: Zelensky tsks Germany, economic impact, Mars trip on hold, corporate decisions, Uzbek U-turn

Zelensky blasts Germany. In a spirited address to German legislators on Thursday, the Ukrainian president blasted Europe’s largest economy for its long history of close commercial ties to Putin’s Russia, as well as Berlin’s unwillingness to fast-track Ukraine’s application to the EU. Zelensky’s remarks to the Bundestag were made as Ukrainian rescuers continued to find survivors amid the rubble of a reported Russian airstrike on a Mariupol theater that had been serving as a bomb shelter. Kyiv’s air defenses, meanwhile, worked overtime to repel a barrage of missile attacks in the capital. No major changes were reported from the frontlines on Thursday, but civilian casualties continued to rise.

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