Donald Trump Covid warning: China may ‘make its move’ with President incapacitated
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Mr Trump was airlifted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland yesterday, 17 hours after confirming his diagnosis on Twitter. With the White House confirming he will spend the next few days there, a cloud of uncertainty is currently hovering over the United States – and Professor Joe Siracusa, Professor of Human Security and International Diplomacy in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University in Australia, said he anticipated other countries would seek to capitalise.
We’re in for a serious ride here particularly if America’s enemies want to do something about this
Professor Joseph Siracusa
Prof Siracusa told Sky News: “I’d make my move in places like Taiwan, or the South China Sea because this president isn’t going to do a damn thing about it because he might be on a ventilator or even worse intubated in the next couple days.
“We’re in for a serious ride here particularly if America’s enemies want to do something about this.
“I’m sure Putin and President Xi of China and Chairman Kim in North Korea and the Ayatollah in Iran are looking at this very carefully and might want to exploit a weakness.
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“This is a hands-on president. Without this central figure, we’re going to look for some bad news coming up.”
Mr Siracusa’s concerns were underlined by stories carried on Russia’s Tass news agency boasting about new “suicide drones” which its military helicopters will from now on be equipped with.
Meanwhile tensions with China over Taiwan, which China regards as part of its territory remain heightened in the wake of a series of military drills towards the end of last month which saw at least 19 Chinese fighter jets cross the median line which runs down the Taiwan Strait.
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Senior Colonel Tan Kefei, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of National Defense, subsequently warned his country would “resolutely thwart” what he called “Taiwan independence secessionists” at all costs.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took the opportunity to launch an attack on Israel in a video message to the UN General Assembly yesterday, accusing the US ally of violations of 1970s’s Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons
Mr Zarif said: “The international community must compel Israel — which has aggression in its very DNA — to promptly accede to the NPT and destroy its nuclear arsenal.
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“And given its six decades of deception and clandestine development of nuclear weapons, it must be compelled to submit to the most intrusive inspection regime that law-abiding members of the NPT observe.”
Mr Siracusa’s comments are also likely to have been informed by the immediate aftermath of the assassination attempt on former US President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
With Mr Reagan injured and tensions with the USSR running high, members of his cabinet were concerned the Soviets could use the ensuing confusion to launch a nuclear attack.
Two Soviet ballistic missile submarines were detected patrolling unusually near the East Coast of the United States, enabling them to hit targets more quickly than they would normally be able to.
Concerns were also voiced about a possible Soviet invasion of Poland, with Moscow deeply unhappy at an ongoing strike organised by maverick trade union Solidarity.
Mr Trump will work in a special suite at the hospital for the next few days as a precautionary measure, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.
Online video showed a small group of Trump supporters outside the hospital late on Friday waving Trump 2020 flags, most not wearing masks.
A number of other prominent Republicans also tested positive on Friday, including former White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and Republican senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis.
Mr Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, also tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and will work from home, according to a senior campaign official.
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