WASHINGTON — Mail addressed to President Donald Trump and the Pentagon was suspected of containing the deadly poison ricin, officials said on Tuesday. The US Secret Service said it had obtained a "suspicious envelope" addressed to Trump on Monday, the same day at least two suspicious packages were intercepted at a screening centre for Pentagon mail, according to a Defense Department spokesman. "The envelope was not received at the White House, nor did it ever enter the White House," the Secret Service said. "We can confirm that we are working jointly with our law enforcement partners to fully investigate this matter." Chris Sherwood, a Pentagon spokesman, said authorities at its screening site "recognised some suspicious packages," noting they were "suspected to be ricin." He stressed that authorities were still waiting for confirmation that the packages contained ricin. Pentagon police referred the matter to the FBI for investigation. A defence official said the packages … [Read more...] about Ricin suspected in mail sent to Trump, Pentagon
U.S. military sales to self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its sacred territory under its "one China" policy, is an irritant in the relations between the world's two largest economies. "This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security and defensive capability of the recipient, which has been and continues to be an important force for political stability, military balance, and economic progress in the region," the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement. China is deeply suspicious of U.S. intentions toward Taiwan, which is equipped with mostly U.S.-made weaponry and wants Washington to sell it more advanced equipment, including new fighter jets. Military experts say the balance of power between Taiwan and China has shifted in favor of China, which could probably overwhelm the island unless U.S. forces came quickly to its aid. The $330 million request covers spare parts … [Read more...] about US approves possible $330 million military sale to Taiwan: Pentagon
The assessment, which comes at a time of heightened U.S.-China tensions over trade, was contained in an annual report released Thursday that highlighted China’s efforts to increase its global influence, with defense spending that the Pentagon estimates exceeded $190 billion in 2017. “Over the last three years, the PLA has rapidly expanded its overwater bomber operating areas, gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against U.S. and allied targets,” the report said, using an acronym for China’s People’s Liberation Army. The report comes as China and the United States plan to hold trade talks, offering hope they might resolve an escalating tariff conflict that threatens to degenerate into an all-out trade war. The report said that while the PLA had continued to extend operations, it was not clear what message Beijing was seeking to send by carrying out the flights “beyond a demonstration of improved … [Read more...] about Pentagon says China military ‘likely training for strikes’ on US targets
The Pentagon on Wednesday uninvited China from a major U.S.-hosted naval drill in response to what it sees as Beijing’s militarization of islands in the South China Sea, which is known as the East Sea in Vietnam, a decision China called unconstructive. “As an initial response to China’s continued militarization of the South China Sea we have disinvited the PLA Navy from the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise,” said Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan, a Pentagon spokesman. PLA is the English-language acronym of China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army. Logan did not specify what else the U.S. government might do to respond but stressed there was “strong evidence” that China had deployed anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missile systems and electronic jammers to contested features in the Spratly Islands. “We find that a very unconstructive move,” the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councilor Wang … [Read more...] about Pentagon uninvites China from major US military exercise
Syrian state TV said on Monday the United States was suspected of striking an air base hours after U.S. President Donald Trump warned of a “big price to pay” as aid groups said dozens of people were killed by poison gas in a rebel-held town. The United States denied attacking the Syrian base, and France also said it had not carried it out. “At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable.” When asked about the explosions, an Israeli spokeswoman declined to comment. Israel has struck Syrian army locations many times in the course of the conflict, hitting convoys and bases of Iranian-backed militias that fight alongside Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s forces. Syrian state TV said there were casualties in what … [Read more...] about Syria says US suspected of attacking air base but Pentagon denies it.