Disputed borders and waters: Afghan Taliban threaten Iran
Today's headlines: joint Philippine, Japanese and US coast guard exercise in the South China Sea to counter Beijing;First North Korean military reconnaissance satellite completed; Burmese junta arrests a rapper and sentences a video-maker to 10 years; China launches the first civilian astronaut into space; Riyadh in stand-off with Moscow over oil prices; Asad Gulzoda Bukhoroi, Tajiki poet and intellectual, has died.
IRAN - AFGHANISTAN
Amid rising tensions over border disputes and the exploitation of the waters of the Helmand River, the Afghan Taliban are threatening to 'conquer Iran soon'. In a recently released video, a leader of the Koranic students promises to fight the ayatollahs 'with more passion' than the US. In recent days clashes at the border have left three people dead.
In June, Pyongyang will send the first military reconnaissance satellite into space to monitor US military activities in real time, the state news agency Kcna reported. Scientists have completed development and leader Kim Jong-un has given the go-ahead for the mission. It is scheduled to depart between 31 May and 11 June. Missile defences in Japan have been alerted.
PHILIPPINES - JAPAN - USA
The coast guards of the Philippines, Japan and the US will hold a trilateral maritime exercise in the South China Sea from 1 to 7 June, a first between the countries. Four ships from Manila and one each from the Rising Sun and the US will take part in an activity aimed at containing Beijing's expansionism in the area.
China launched its first civilian astronaut into space today, marking the beginning of a new phase for the Tiangong space station. Gui Haichao, a lecturer at Beijing's Beihang University, will travel along with veteran Jing Haipeng and Colonel Zhu Yangzhu, also in space for the first time, aboard the Shenzhou-16 departing from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.
The military arrested renowned rapper Byu Har for criticising the junta over the recent power cuts in Myanmar and claiming that Aung San Suu Kyi handled emergencies better than junta leader Min Aung Hlaing. Earlier in the day, video-maker Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun was sentenced to 10 years hard labour for violating the anti-terrorism law.
RUSSIA - SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia is rather upset by Russia's actions in the field of oil extraction. Moscow, in fact, would not abide by the commitments it made in meetings with OPEC+ countries regarding the reduction of extraction quantities, exporting too much crude to world markets and leading to stagnating prices instead of rising.
Asad Gulzoda Bukhoroi, the leading poet and herald of the Tajik language, passed away at the age of 88. He was also a journalist and historical defender of the Tajik schools in Bukhara and lived between the United States, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, working to spread the culture of the Tajiks and all the peoples of Central Asia throughout the world with books and public events.