Hale-AIE Alliance InauguratedToday, a military and economic partnership, dubbed by news media as 'an alliance between alliances', was officially pronounced for the firs time in a long time between the Hale Collective and AIE governments. The stated goals of the treaty were outlined in a joint address by AIE foreign secretary Shigeru Hamaguchi and Hale Collective Chairman Yang Jintao. Yang stated that "AIE financial investment will augment the incredible industrial expansion underway in Hale colonies and sectors, providing vital services both to civilians and to the war effort against the Praelor." Hamaguchi meanwhile pointed out that "the combined forces of the AIE and the Hale will ensure that the balance of power holds steady in these troubled times, and the Hale's research cooperation will ensure the AIE remains best-of-breed when it comes to starship technology." Amongst the terms of the alliance is the Hale purchase of four newly discovered and valuable sectors claimed by the AIE on the frontier, a development which has infuriated the Commonwealth; one of these sectors, Sakhalin, contains an unincorporated colony which earlier today pledged allegiance to the Commonwealth. Some Hale political pundits have claimed that the Commonwealth must have exercised military or diplomatic pressures on the colony for it to take up statehood in the Commonwealth so suddenly, a claim furiously denied by the Commonwealth government.
It is easy to ascertain the atmosphere behind the Hale land grab from comments by Commonwealth officials. "Despite the AIE discovery and initial claim of this sector, it was a fact that it was not the AIE's sector in the first place. The colony was not recognized as an AIE colony and today declared its desire to become a state of the Commonwealth, and we will be seeking a diplomatic resolution to this dispute as quickly as possible," said Commonwealth Foreign Minister Patrice Rouvier.
Also included in the treaty was AIE subsidy for several ambitious joint engineering projects, making reference to a 'Urenbeck Magnetosolar Trebuchet (pat. pending)' and a 'Secondary Jump Hub Project'. The agreement entailed certain economic concessions, including a target for imports of AIE-manufactured consumer goods and a requirement for Hale to raise levels of commitment to High Guard funding, reversing cuts made by Yang at the start of his term. There also appears to be a one-sided agreement of cooperation between Hale and AIE academic faculties, in which the AIE may take possession of cooperatively-produced technological advances; this has been decried by Hale political commentators as 'caving in to political pressures', but the agreement also means that Hale researchers will be able to receive research grants with less red tape and a much higher probability of success.
Also of note is the fact that the subsidies to Hale industrial development have been massively increased. Speaking at a quarterly economic conference yesterday, the Hale Collective Chairman unveiled plans for a large orbital industrial complex in Outreach, including an expansion of mineral processing facilities and a competitive recruitment program to attract, train and retain starship construction engineers and technicians, explicitly laying the path to a Hale-owned starship possibly capable of even battlecruiser construction. The apparent looming industrial revolution has not gone unnoticed by anyone, but the current reaction by most people to these developments is perhaps best summed up by a popular ISC engineer's online column: "Hale's reach exceeds its grasp once again. They're being played for fools."
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