US warship transits Taiwan Strait after Chinese assault drills

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A US warship and a US Coast Guard cutter sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Friday, the latest in what Washington calls routine operations through the sensitive waterway that separates Taiwan from China, which claims the self-ruled island.

The passage comes amid a spike in military tensions in the past two years between Taiwan and China, and follows Chinese assault drills last week, with warships and fighter jets exercising off the island’s southwest and southeast.

The Kidd, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, accompanied by the Coast Guard cutter Munro, transited “through international waters in accordance with international law,” the US Navy said in a statement.

“The ships’ lawful transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific. The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows,” it said.

The US Navy has been conducting such operations about every month or so, angering China, which sees Taiwan as its territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring the democratic island under its control.

The United States, like most countries, has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but is its most important international backer and a major seller of arms to the island.

China’s state-controlled media have seized on the United States’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in recent weeks to portray US support for Taiwan and regional allies as fickle.

But US President Joe Biden’s administration has been quick to dismiss any connection between Afghanistan and the United States’ commitment to the Indo-Pacific.

Vice President Kamala Harris accused China of “bullying and excessive maritime claims” during trips to Vietnam and Singapore this week, the latest in a string of visits by top US officials to the Indo-Pacific aimed at cementing US commitment to the region.

Taiwan says China wants to ’emulate’ the Taliban

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Taiwan’s foreign minister accused China on Saturday of wanting to “emulate” the Taliban, saying the island that Beijing claims as sovereign Chinese territory did not wish to be subject to communism or crimes against humanity.

The rapid fall of the US-backed Afghan government has sparked heated debate in Taiwan about whether they could suffer the same fate to a Chinese invasion, while state media in China has said Kabul’s fate showed Taiwan it cannot trust Washington.

Writing on Twitter in response to the US State Department reiterating a call for China to stop pressuring the island, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu expressed his thanks to the United States for upholding the wishes and best interests of Taiwan’s people.

“They include democracy & freedom from communism, authoritarianism & crimes against humanity,” Wu said.

“China dreams of emulating the Taliban, but let me be blunt: We’ve got the will & means to defend ourselves,” Wu added, without elaborating.

There was no immediate response from China, whose Taiwan Affairs Office did not answer calls seeking comment outside of business hours on Saturday.

China has sought to build ties with the Taliban despite its own worries about the possible effect on what Beijing sees as Islamist extremists operating in China’s Xinjiang.

Afghanistan has become the latest issue Taiwan and China have sparred over.

Taiwan has complained of stepped up Chinese diplomatic and military pressure in recent months, including repeated air force and navy drills near the island, prompting concern in Washington and other Western capitals.

Taiwan is a rambunctious democracy whose people have shown little interest in being ruled by autocratic China.

Beijing has also been angered by US support for Taiwan even in the absence of formal diplomatic ties between Washington and Taipei, including regular US arms sales.

Gainers & Losers: 10 stocks that moved most on August 27

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After initial volatility, flagship indices the Sensex and the Nifty managed to close the day in the green, with UltraTech Cement, Larsen & Toubro, Dr Reddy’s Labs, Bajaj Finserv and Sun Pharma among the top gainers. The Sensex closed 176 points, or 0.31 percent, up at 56,124.72 and the Nifty settled at 16,705.20, up 68 points, or 0.41 percent.

BHEL | CMP: Rs 53.85 | The scrip was up over 3 percent on August 27. The company signed a memorandum of understanding with JSC Rosoboronexport for implementing possible joint projects and activities for the production of spare parts and components for Russian-origin equipment installed onboard the Indian Navy aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, maintenance of its systems and equipment and on other issues of mutual interest.

Wockhardt | CMP: Rs 395.50 | The stock price was down over 4 percent after promoter Themisto Trustee Company pledged 22.27 lakh shares of the company. With this, the quantum of the pledged shares risen to 26.92 percent.

Wipro | CMP: Rs 633.40 | The share ended in the green after the IT company signed a strategic partnership with DataRobot to provide augmented intelligence at scale to help “customers become AI-driven enterprises, and accelerate their business impact”.

Computer Age Management | CMP: Rs 3,459.85 | The stock jumped almost 7 percent after the company got the nod to set up an office at GIFT city to provide asset management support (AMS) services to financial institutions.

Larsen & Toubro | CMP: Rs 1,639 | The share added over 2 percent after broking house Motilal Oswal maintained a “buy” rating on the stock. Motilal Oswal increased the target price to Rs 1,950, an upside of more than 22 percent. L&T’s core E&C business remains best placed to benefit from any capex upcycle, supported by its leaner asset-light business model and diversified segments, the brokerage house said.

Aurobindo Pharma | CMP: Rs 708.80 | The stock ended in the green after Aurobindo Pharma’s subsidiary Eugia Pharma Specialities received a 505(b)(2) NDA approval from the US Food & Drug Administration (USFDA) for its Cyclophosphamide Injection 500 mg/2.5 mL and 1 g/5 mL vials.

SpiceJet | CMP: Rs 73 | The scrip gained over 2 percent after DGCA lifted the ban on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has lifted the ban more than two years after the aircraft was grounded, the aviation sector regulator said on August 26.

Apollo Micro Systems | CMP: Rs 114.85 | The share jumped 7 percent after the company bagged an order for supplying security and surveillance systems worth Rs 59.62 crore.

UPL | CMP: Rs 727.95 | The stock ended in the green on August 27. Jefferies maintained its “buy” call on the stock, with the target at Rs 965 a share. The agro-chemical company expects to grow margin-accretive differentiated solutions to 50 percent from 29 percent by FY26. Innovation rate could rise to 30 percent in three to five years.