Georgian soliders mutiny as tension with Russia escalates; Chinese kicks out Mexicans; South Korean economy rebounds; Pakistan-Taliban truce seems close to collapse; and more
Top of the Agenda: Georgia Troop Mutiny
Troops at a military base in Georgia mutinied today in what Georgian military officials are calling a coup attempt with Russian backing. Reuters reports Georgian troops seized control of the base, where a tank battalion had mutinied. The New York Times reports several top military officials have been arrested.
News reports and comments from Georgia's government indicate the revolt was timed to disrupt military exercises between Georgia and NATO, which are scheduled to open tomorrow. At a morning news conference, the Times reports, a senior official of Georgia's interior ministry said "the plan was organized with Russia, and the plan was at a minimum to spoil the NATO exercises, at a maximum to carry out a large-scale military uprising in the country."
The Russian news outlet ITAR-TASS quotes an unnamed official from Russia's security services who says the accusations of Russian involvement "are just delirium and agony of the ruling regime" in Georgia. The Times says Russia's envoy to NATO told Interfax that assigning blame to Russia was all just "mad accusations by Georgian political and military officials." Ria Novosti, another Russia news source, notes however that the Kremlin had previously said that Georgia's drills with NATO were "an open provocation" and could bring negative reverberations.
NATO officials had yet to comment on the flare-up at the time this newsletter was prepared.
Tensions between Georgia and Russia, particularly over NATO, have lingered since the 2008 war between the countries over the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia, whose independence Russia supported.
- The BBC looks at how Russia views NATO.
- In a recent interview, S. Frederick Starr, a professor at Johns Hopkins, told CFR that Moscow appears inclined to establish a stronger presence in Russia's "near abroad."
- CFR's Stephen Sestanovich and Charles Kupchan explained last year's conflict between Russia and Georgia in a conference call, the transcript of which is available here.
- CFR's James Goldgeier, in a recent expert brief, says NATO has internal tensions of its own.
PACIFIC RIM: China Flu Precautions
The BBC reports China forced dozens of quarantined Mexicans to be air-lifted back to Mexico today, as part of sweeping precautions the country is taking against a potential outbreak of swine flu. China's government defended the measures as "proper and necessary" (China Daily).
The Global Times reports both Beijing and the World Health Organization are playing down complaints that China has been discriminatory in its handling of the disease.
Xinhua reports China today delivered its second large shipment of flu aid supplies to Mexico.
S.KOREA: The Korea Times reports South Korea's currency, stocks, and real estate have all surged in value in recent weeks.
S.KOREA-N.KOREA: Yonhap reports Seoul and Pyongyang are holding preliminary talks that could lead to new meetings aimed at resolving disputes over their joint industrial complex at Kaesong.