News Briefs – August 2, 2019

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Taiwan ends live-fire drills coinciding with China exercises

Taiwan has concluded two days of live-fire drills coinciding with Chinese military exercises on the mainland coast facing the island.
Taiwan’s defense ministry said its drills included testing 12 types of missiles with ranges of up to 155 miles, long enough to reach targets in the mainland interior.
Ministry Deputy Chief of Staff Li Chao Ming said July 30 a total of 117 projectiles were fired with an accuracy rate of more than 95 percent but declined to identify the missiles by name. Two of the air force’s F-16 fighter jets also fired AGM-Harpoon missiles that hit a pair of decommissioned landing ships.
China says it is holding four days of drills through Thursday along the coasts of Zhejiang and Fujian provinces, which face the democratically governed island. AP
 

NATO chief appeals to Russia ahead of missile pact deadline

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is appealing to Russia to comply with a key Cold War-era missile treaty just days before a U.S. deadline to do so expires, but he says the end of the landmark European security pact appears imminent.
In February, the United States began withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty it agreed in 1987 with the then Soviet Union, blaming Moscow for developing missiles that do not comply with it. Russia has until Friday to destroy the new missiles.
Stoltenberg said July 31 that “we see the demise of the INF treaty,” but he added that “we still call on Russia to come back into compliance and to save the treaty.”
He told reporters that NATO “will do what is necessary to have credible deterrence and defense.” AP
 

Germany: U.S. asks allies to help protect Gulf shipping lanes

Germany says the U.S. has provided details to allies on its concept for securing maritime traffic in the Persian Gulf region and asked for contributions.
The Foreign Ministry said July 30 that Germany hasn’t promised any contribution but is “in close consultation with France and Great Britain.”
The U.S. last month promised more details after asking NATO allies to help protect key commercial waterways. The request came as tensions have soared between the U.S. and Iran, which recently seized a British-flagged tanker.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry gave no details of the U.S. plan, but said “priority must be given to a de-escalation of tensions and diplomatic efforts.”
It says “participation in the American strategy of maximum pressure is out of the question for us,” referring to the U.S. approach to Iran. AP