Editorial | Chinese business group is a start | Commentary

Last week’s launch of an association of big Chinese firms that do business in Jamaica is a potentially positive development that could backfire unless it signals a real change in how they traditionally engage with the host community. Fundamentally, that should mean greater transparency on the part of the firms. But it also requires that Jamaica, and domestic enterprises, meet them halfway. The fact is, China and its companies, on the economic front, have, over the last decade, been the most critical game in town for Jamaica, providing the island…

Pompeo assures Philippines of U.S. protection in event of sea conflict

By Karen Lema and Neil Jerome Morales MANILA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo assured the Philippines on Friday it would come to its defense if it came under attack in the South China Sea, reaffirming a defense code that Manila’s security chiefs have sought to revise. Speaking during a stopover after a summit in Hanoi with North Korea, Pompeo said a 1951 Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defence Treaty would be adhered to if its ally was a victim of aggression, and singled out China as a threat to stability.…

Spending splurge masks questions over China’s military capability

When Beijing on Monday announces its defence budget for 2019, the figures are expected to fuel western concerns over Beijing’s growing military strength by continuing a 25-year run of increases that has made China the world’s number two military spender. But from within the People’s Liberation Army, the picture looks rather different.  The PLA Daily, the force’s main newspaper, ran a report last week scrutinising the military’s weaknesses, noting how in a recent ground forces exercise, the reconnaissance network link within the attacking unit failed to function properly, which would have…

A U.S.-China trade deal does not slow China’s rise

The original March 1 deadline has passed as the United States and China hash out a trade deal amid deadlocked negotiations. Any U.S.-China trade deal likely falls short compared to what the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could have been. Within current talks, Donald Trump’s administration is focused on greater access to subsidized Chinese industries and addressing intellectual property theft linked to alleged forced technology transfers to China. All of this has an impact on America’s economic competitiveness in the short term. But is the U.S. adequately managing long-term Chinese efforts to…

Vietnam’s Danang poaches tourists from Phuket and Bali

HANOI — A central Vietnamese port city made infamous by a war that ended more than 40 years ago is now stepping up to compete with some of Southeast Asia’s most famous beach resorts. But unlike Thailand’s Phuket and Indonesia’s Bali, Danang is not an island. As Vietnam’s third-largest city, it is beckoning guests from China and South Korea with luxury hotels and convenience. Proximity is its calling card. Its airport, city center and beaches are situated nearby one another. And it doesn’t hurt that huge numbers of vacation seekers…

5 years on, Malaysia open to proposals to resume MH370 hunt

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s transport minister said Sunday that the government is open to new proposals from U.S. technology firm Ocean Infinity or any other companies to resume the hunt for Flight 370, as families of passengers marked the fifth anniversary of the jet’s mysterious disappearance. Ocean Infinity mounted a “no cure, no fee” search for the plane in the southern Indian Ocean in January 2018 that ended in May without any clue on where it could have crashed. But the company’s CEO, Oliver Plunkett, said in a…

US Navy Frequents Taiwan Strait to Send China Message

TAIPAI, TAIWAN —  Passage of two U.S. Navy ships through the Taiwan Strait in February, the fourth such move since mid-2018, shows Washington’s growing support for Taiwan against threats from China, Asia scholars said this week. Observers say the passages are aimed at showing China that the U.S. Navy has regularized patrols in the East and South China seas despite — and because of — China’s maritime expansion. “I think the United States, by demonstrating its determination and resolve to be more actively implementing naval operations, is to send a…

What’s at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole in Belize?

Following is a transcript of the video. Narrator: There’s a massive underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize that extends 125 meters into the Earth’s crust. It’s called the Great Blue Hole. Scuba divers and snorkelers have been cruising the surface waters for decades, but few have dared to venture deeper and explore what lies beyond the blackness. In the winter of 2018, a crew from Aquatica Submarines started their descent to the bottom of the Blue Hole. Their mission was to create a 3D map of the sinkhole’s interior,…

MH370 experts and investigators call on China to fund a renewed search

MH370 experts and investigators have called on China to fund a renewed search into the missing plane, five years after the Boeing 777 vanished. Malaysian Airlines crisis manager Fuad Sharuji says China’s lack of contribution and funding for the search is confounding, and the burden of a new search should fall on them. In an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes, Sharuji pointed to the number of Chinese nationals on board the flight. Malaysian Airlines crisis manager Fuad Sharuji says China’s lack of contribution and funding for the search is confounding.…