Mainland China sent 17 troops to join Cobra Gold 2014 — an annual Thai-U.S. co-sponsored joint and multinational military exercise that runs from January 10 through February 22 this year. The exercise includes 9,000 troops from the United States, 4,000 from Thailand, 80 from Singapore, 120 from Japan, 300 from South Korea, 160 from Indonesia, and 120 from Malaysia.
Wang Yu-chi, the head of The Republic of China’s (Taiwan’s) Mainland Affairs Council, and Zhang Zhijun, head of mainland communist China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, met on February 11 in the mainland city of Nanjing (formerly spelled Nanking).
The first groups of civilians were evacuated on February 7 from rebel-held sections of Homs, a war-ravaged city in western Syria that has been a major battleground between government and rebel forces in Syria’s civil war. The evacuation is considered to be a positive result stemming from the UN-backed Geneva II Conference on Syria held from January 22-31.
Negotiations between the Pakistani government and representatives of the Pakistan Taliban (TTP) began on January 6 in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad. The talks are aimed at resolving the ongoing insurgency between the TTP — an umbrella organization of Islamic militants based in Pakistan’s northwestern Federally Administered Tribal Areas — and the government.
An exchange of words between Syria’s foreign minister and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon created a tense start to the Geneva II Conference on Syria (a UN-backed conference called to negotiate a settlement to the three-year-long Syrian civil war) which started on January 22 in the Swiss lakeside city of Montreux.