South Korea to Deliver SAMs to the UAE in Biggest Arms Export Deal in Its History

South Korea has made a deal to export Cheongung II KM-SAM midrange missiles to the United Arab Emirates marking the Asian country’s biggest arms export in its history.

The $3.5 billion contract for the surface to air missiles was signed during South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s meeting with Emirati Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Dubai.

Before the final agreement, South Korean defense firms that developed the missile signed deals with UAE based Tawazun Economic Council for the tailoring and deployment of the missiles.

The two governments also signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on defense technologies including the development of weapons systems.

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China’s CNPC Close to Finalizing 30-Year Deal to Buy LNG from Qatar

State-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) is close to complete a deal to buy LNG from QatarEnergy over 30 years from the Gulf nation’s massive North Field expansion project. If signed, this will be the second such deal between China, the world’s second biggest LNG importer, and Qatar, as Beijing looks to ramp up and diversify gas supplies in a bid to replace coal and reduce carbon emissions. CNPC’s negotiations follow an agreement announced in November between China’s Sinopec and QatarEnergy for the supply of 4 million tons of LNG per annum for 27 years, the longest LNG supply contract in Qatar’s history. CNPC’s deal is expected to be very similar to Sinopec’s.

China Doubles Down on Taiwan Reunification

China announced national defense budget for 2023 on Sunday at 1.55 trillion yuan ($224 billion), a 7.2% increase from the last year. The increase in defense budget surpasses the government’s economic growth forecast of 5%, as Premier Li called for the armed forces to boost combat preparedness. The defense budget will be closely watched by China’s neighbors and the United States, who are concerned by Beijing’s strategic intentions and development of its military, especially as tensions have spiked in recent years over Taiwan. Premier Li also pledged “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan on Sunday, as well as resolute steps to oppose Taiwan independence, which was met with a response from Taipei that Beijing should respect the Taiwanese people’s commitment to democracy and freedom.

President Biden Insists Nord Stream 2 Will be No More Should Russia Attack Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden said the Nord Stream 2 pipeline will be shut down if Russia invades Ukraine during a meeting in Washington D.C. with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. At the press conference, President Biden who is a long time opponent of the pipeline project said should Russia cross into Ukraine, the pipeline will be shut down. 

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