A gunfight at a monastery in Kosovo between Serb-backed gunmen and the Kosovar police broke out earlier this week, on the backs of simmering tensions and incidents in the region between ethnic Serbs and Albanians over the past year. This was seen as an escalation by the Kosovo government because of the direct ties of the assailants to parts of the Serbian government. Serbia claims in return that the battle was another step in provocations by Kosovo. The US issued a warning to Serbia, who deployed its troops to the border after the incident, to pull back. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucić denied that the country was mobilizing on the border. NATO subsequently deployed more UK peacekeepers to the region. Hopefully the situation can be defused without further armed skirmishes.
The UK announced a contract with BAE Systems for a nuclear submarine for the AUKUS pact. The contract is worth £3.95 billion ($4.82 billion), and will explore developing the next generation of nuclear-powered attack submarines. The security pact, consisting of Australia, the UK, and the US, seeks to counter China’s influence in Asia-Pacific. This is another step in shoring up stability in the region.
Relatedly, Taiwan’s security chief Koo Li-hsiung stated that AUKUS and NATO are needed to counter China’s threat to the island nation. He warned of China’s expansion of military presence abroad, such as in Cambodia, Pakistan, and Djibouti, and that more NATO (and AUKUS) engagement in Asia-Pacific would be beneficial to balance China’s ambitions.
Read more about these topics:
- [BBC] Kosovo and Serbia row over monastery battle
- [RFE/RL] U.S. Urges Serbia To Pull Back Large Military Deployment Along Border With Kosovo
- [New York Times] Serbia’s President Rejects Claims of Troop Buildup Near Kosovo
- [Deutsche Welle] NATO sends 600 UK soldiers to Kosovo in response to clashes
- [BBC] Aukus: UK defence giant BAE Systems wins £3.95bn submarine contract
- [Nikkei Asia] Taiwan security chief says AUKUS, NATO must counter China threat