US B-52 flies over disputed islands in the South China Sea

The U.S. has flown a B-52 bomber mission near disputed islands in the South China Sea, according to U.S. Pacific Air Forces. The last reported B-52 mission in the vicinity of the South China Sea was in November. “Two B-52H Stratofortress bombers took off from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and participated in routine training missions, March 4, 2019,” said a statement from the U.S. Pacific Air Forces. “One bomber conducted training in the vicinity of the South China Sea before returning to Guam, while the other conducted training in…

US presses China to halt militarization of South China Sea

In a statement on Saturday, China’s Foreign Ministry described the talks as “frank, constructive and very fruitful.” Responding sharply to Pompeo’s mention of Taiwan, which China considers a wayward province but which is armed by Washington, Wei said Beijing would defend its claim on the island “at any cost.” But Wei and Mattis agreed on the need to lower U.S.-China military tensions to avoid unintended clashes, with the Chinese general saying confrontation “will spell disaster to all.” Washington has protested to Beijing about recent behavior by its warships that the…

Britain is right to send its navy to the South China Sea 

The Royal Navy and US Navy held joint exercises in the South China Sea last week, for the first time since China began building new military bases in those waters. The exercises sent a message to Beijing that it faces an evolving united front of nations committed to maintaining freedom of navigation in some of the world’s most vital waterways. The frigate HMS Argyll joined the USS McCampbell, a guided-missile destroyer, for nearly a week of drills and operations. This comes just a few months after HMS Albion conducted the…

Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s firm grip on power may not be as strong as he might like it to be

BEIJING – A year since removing any legal barrier to remaining China’s leader for life, Xi Jinping appears firmly in charge, despite a slowing economy, an ongoing trade war with the U.S. and rumbles of discontent over his concentration of power. The Chinese president and head of the ruling Communist Party wields more authority than any leader since Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s and looms large over the annual legislative session that starts Tuesday. Since assuming the party helm in 2012, Xi has eliminated rival factions, gutted civil society and…

US ally questions alliance over growing risk of war in South China Sea

The top defense official in the Philippines is urging his government to review a decades-old treaty with the United States, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The Philippines fears the it could be dragged into a shooting war between the US and China in the contested South China Sea. The country, a long-time US ally, has expressed concerns about the US commitment to defend the Philippines in the event that armed conflict breaks out in the region. Fearing the US could drag it into a shooting war with China in…

Bonner County Daily Bee – World News, 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…

No reports of Pinoy fishermen shooed from Pag-asa Island: military

MANILA – The military said Tuesday it has not received reports of Filipino fishermen being prevented by Chinese vessels from fishing or landing on the sandbars around Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea. On the contrary, the Armed Forces’ Western Command (WesCom) has received information that Filipino fishermen have been able to successfully fish around the area and take rest and shelter in the sandbars, according to Vice Admiral Rene Medina, newly-installed WesCom commander. Recent reports from Kalayaan Mayor Roberto del Mundo said Chinese vessels have been barring the…

Philippine Navy looks to join rescue bid for Subic shipyard

MANILA — The Philippine Navy wants to join South Korean or U.S. companies in a rescue bid for the country’s largest shipyard in Subic Bay, as it seeks to preserve local shipbuilding and quell national security concerns after the facility’s collapse in January. Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad told Nikkei Asian Review in an interview that the navy is seeking a “small” stake in the local unit of South Korea’s Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction, which ceased full-scale operation last month after defaulting on debts totaling $1.3 billion. “The navy will come in as a…

Activists Protest against Chinese Blocking Fishing Boats

Richel V. Umel and Joseph Jubelag Iligan and General Santos City, Philippines2019-03-04 Activists on Monday protested outside the Chinese embassy over reports of its boats chasing away Filipino fishermen from a string of sandbars close to a Philippine-occupied island in the South China Sea. The activists slammed what they called China’s latest bullying tactics against Filipino fishermen whenever they approached what is considered traditional fishing grounds around Pag-asa Island. The protests came three days after the U.S. secretary of state assured the Philippine government of his nation’s support. “We condemn…