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China Rebukes Iran for Stopping Oil Sales to Britain and France (Second Coming Watch Update #19)

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China rebukes Iran for stopping oil sales to Britain and France. According to Reuters, China rebuked Iran for stopping oil sales to British and French companies, calling for renewed efforts at dialogue over an escalating stand-off over Tehran's controversial nuclear program. China has repeatedly called for talks over Tehran's efforts to enrich its own uranium, which Western countries suspect is aimed at obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran has said the enrichment is for power generation

Vladimir Putin says Russia needs a stronger military. According to the BBC, Putin has backed the modernisation of his country's military, less than a fortnight before a presidential vote. He wrote in a Russian newspaper, "We must not tempt anyone with our weakness." The leading presidential candidate said Russia was planning to spend $772 billion over the next decade on 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles and more than 600 warplanes as well as nuclear submarines and S-400 missile defence systems. Mr Putin said Russia would never give away its potential of strategic deterrence and had to look ahead to the next 30-50 years.

S. Korea ignores a threat from N. Korea to retaliate for military drill. According to Voice of America News, South Korea went ahead with an artillery drill Monday near a disputed maritime border despite an unusually explicit threat by North Korea to retaliate by shelling inhabited islands in the Yellow Sea. Officials in Seoul say the morning exercise was routine and included the firing of self-propelled howitzers and mortars. Attack helicopters also joined the exercise on the western frontier islands. North Korean had said that if South Korea fires recklessly, then it "will not escape punishment thousands-fold more severe than the shelling of Yeonpyeong (YON-pyong) island."

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