How and why did the Northern Territory lease the Darwin Port to China, and at what risk?

Updated March 12, 2019 09:42:12 Photo: Cattle are loaded at Darwin Port, which was handed over to Chinese company Landbridge on a 99-year lease. (ABC News: Carl Curtain) Southern contestants on Millionaire Hot Seat don’t typically get questions about Darwin correct. Their knowledge of the Northern Territory is limited to crocs, fishing and oppressive heat. And so it was in June 2017, when then-federal treasurer Scott Morrison stumbled late into the office of the NT News, the Territory’s paper of record, while a Millionaire Hot Seat question flashed on the…

What does the ‘Indo-Pacific strategy’ mean?

Nine months ago, in this column, I wrote about the Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy. Some argue that it was initiated by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as early as in 2012. Other claim that the originally biogeographic concept was first used, as a strategic term, by an Indian Naval officer back in 2007. No matter who initiated the FOIP strategy, however, it is now the official policy of Japan and the United States. The Foreign Ministry states that the “key for stability and prosperity” is the “dynamism that is…

Asia Times | ‘One China’ issue catches out another firm

It is difficult not to upset China in marketing these days, even when a product is not necessarily aimed at Chinese buyers. Just ask MAC Cosmetics, an Estee Lauder retailer based in New York which also managed to infuriate people in the United States and France. The company got into trouble with Chinese consumers when it neglected to include the island of Taiwan on a map with a promotional email sent by the publication Women’s Day to its US customers. Released under the tagline “Girl Power”, the email featured several countries with different…

Asia Minute: Immigration Advice in Southeast Asia

One of Southeast Asia’s longest serving prime ministers met last week with one of the region’s most controversial leaders. Their talks were wide-ranging, and included some advice about immigration. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed is 93 years old, and on his second round of leading his country. Mahathir was previously prime minister from 1981 to 2003 – and won another term in an upset election nearly a year ago. Last week he made his first visit to the Philippines since returning to office. He met with President Rodrigo Duterte —…

Does USS Truman’s Early Retirement Herald a New War on Carriers?

Whatever the promise of emerging technologies, combatant commanders still want more floating mobile airfields. The Pentagon reportedly wants to cancel the mid-life refueling for the aircraft carrier USS Truman, an unexpected move that would save $1.5 billion in fiscal years 2021-23, but only $16.9 million in 2020. More than a desire for cost-savings seems to be at work here. The decision to prematurely retire Truman likely represents the first skirmish in an internal Pentagon clash concerning the future warfighting relevance of aircraft carriers. The debate pits those who believe aircraft carriers…

USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker: March 11, 2019

USNI News Image These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of March 11, 2019, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship. Total U.S. Navy Battle Force: Ships Underway Deployed Ships Underway Non-deployed Ships Underway Total Ships Underway 48 25 73 Ships Deployed by Fleet Fleet Forces 3rd Fleet 4th Fleet 5th Fleet 6th Fleet 7th Fleet Total…

What’s in Indonesia’s New Natuna Fishing Zone in the South China Sea?

A recent statement has spotlighted Jakarta’s ongoing efforts in this respect. Earlier this week, a top Indonesian official made headlines when he said that Indonesia planned to establish a fishing zone in waters north of the Natuna Islands to preserve the country’s interests there. Though the statement constitutes a reinforcement of preexisting efforts by Jakarta in this respect, it has nonetheless spotlighted the Southeast Asian state’s ongoing efforts in this respect as the country heads into elections in April this year. As I have noted before in these pages and…