Commentary: Russia floods Southeast Asia with arms

AUCKLAND: Russia’s “hard” power is generally well-understood. President Vladimir Putin has ensured this is the case, particularly through his proclivity to showcase Russian strength in Ukraine and Syria.  And who could forget Russia’s arsenal of nuclear weapons? Not Donald Trump: In February, Washington cited Russian missile provocations as the reason the US was suspending compliance of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Advertisement On the other hand, new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) suggests a rather different dimension of Russian power: Being the key provider of…

Why China is right to tame its supremacist Muslim minority

Nonetheless, when it comes to dealing with the Uighurs, I think China is doing the right thing.  Muslims are taught that they have moral superiority. They don’t want to integrate with non-Muslims because they believe their culture is superior. They call non-Muslims “Kafir”, an Arabic term of offence that means “infidel” or “non-believer”. Moreover, when you give Muslims an inch, they want the whole mile. Once their population in a country is dense enough, they want to separate and establish their own independent state. For evidence, look no farther…

Britain managing Huawei 5G risks, says cyber security boss Ciaran Martin

And he also flagged the danger of having too few 5G suppliers, saying this risked making the dominant companies complacent about cyber security. Focus on cyber security standards Western countries are concerned that the emerging 5G infrastructure will soon be of such universal and critical importance to their economies and societies that the risk of allowing Chinese providers into these systems is unacceptable. Under an intelligence law passed in 2017 Beijing can require companies to cooperate in security activities, and the worry is that Huawei could easily be coerced into…

China drills in the South China Sea to test wartime command system

China has conducted a month of drills in the South China Sea and the western and central Pacific involving its navy, air force and missile unit. Military observers said the exercises indicated the People’s Liberation Army wanted to put its wartime command system to the test and also strengthen its missile defences in the South China Sea. The waterway is one of the world’s busiest and is subject to overlapping territorial disputes involving China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. Several of China’s newest warships took part in the…

China cabinet: the not-so-secret hack, plus the enemy of Freeman

Hack attack In a framework of ideological contest between democracies and authoritarian states, democracies should work with their strengths. It’s true the disheartening performance of many democratic politicians of late has not done much to burnish the franchise. Like the old line made famous by Churchill, “democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried”. But the separation of powers, free and fair elections, open debate, due process, the accountability of government and above all transparency, together are an old but solid toolkit…

China Brief Early Warning: Xi Jinping Warns Against the “Black Swans” and “Gray Rhinos” of a Possible Color Revolution

Introduction During the Lunar New Year holidays, political circles in Beijing were abuzz with this question: “Who, or what, are ‘black swans’ and ‘gray rhinos’?” This followed a major speech given by President and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping at the Central Party School (CPS) last month, in which the the 65-year-old leader raised the highest alert for Party officials to “be on guard against black swans and keep watchful for gray rhinos” (jingti hei tian’e, fangfan hui xiniu / 警惕黑天鹅, 防范灰犀牛) (People’s Daily, January 22). Noting…

Milk price increase is too little, too late for farmers

Adding a mere 10 cents a litre by Coles? They must be joking. Surely we are better than that. Let consumers pay an extra $2 for a three-litre container of standard or light milk, with the proviso that the extra payment goes direct to farmers. Those on a pension or low income should be granted an exemption card, allowing them to purchase milk at a lower price. Greedy supermarkets must stop their cut-throat treatment of their suppliers. We need to save our wonderful, hard-working dairy farmers by giving them a…

Malaysian town covered in 19,000 tons of plastic waste: photos

Last summer, a small town in Malaysia grew accustomed to the smell of burning plastic. At night, the putrid scent would waft into homes in Jenjarom, a community of around 30,000 residents. Today, the fumes have mostly dissipated, but their source — nearly 19,000 tons of waste piled in high heaps — is still around. Read more: The American recycling system is on the verge of breaking down, and it could mean higher costs for homeowners After China banned the import of plastic in 2017, Malaysia began buying discarded plastic…

Google Maps expose Taiwanese secret military base in 3D view

        News oi-Vishal Kawadkar Google Maps’ recent update spills beans for the Taiwanese military. | Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2019, 16:16 [IST] The latest update for Google Earth 3D maps might have accidentally spilled the beans for Taiwan by exposing their secret military base to the public. Some of the locations in full three-dimensional detail include a facility that is the home to Patriot missiles, and Taiwan’s National Security Bureau, reports The South China Morning Post. The update was meant to show public locations in Taipei, New…

Britannia Helps Rule the Waves – Foreign Policy

The freedom of the seas is facing its greatest threat in decades from authoritarian rulers who flout maritime law and the liberal “rules-based order” of seagoing trade, commerce, and martial endeavors it underwrites. Xi Jinping’s China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over some 80-90 percent of the South China Sea, meaning it intends to make the rules governing maritime activities and amass overpowering armed might to enforce them—including in waters apportioned to its neighbors by treaty. Meanwhile Vladimir Putin’s Russia has mounted a de facto blockade of Ukraine’s southeastern seacoast, seizing Ukrainian…