U.S. to sell 34 surveillance drones to allies in South China Sea region

By Mike Stone WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration has moved ahead with a surveillance drone sale to four U.S. allies in the South China Sea region as acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Washington will no longer “tiptoe” around Chinese behaviour in Asia. The drones would afford greater intelligence gathering capabilities potentially curbing Chinese activity in the region. Shanahan did not directly name China when making accusations of “actors” destabilising the region in a speech at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore on Saturday but went on to say…

Chinese warships in Sydney: a surprise for the Australian public, and a show of strength from Beijing? – South China Morning Post

Chinese warships in Sydney: a surprise for the Australian public, and a show of strength from Beijing?  South China Morning Post The docking of three Chinese warships in Sydney for a publicly unannounced stopover on Monday set off a flurry of speculation about Beijing’s intentions amid rising anxiety about Chinese influence in the southern Pacific. The visit by a Chinese frigate, auxiliary replenishment ship and amphibious vessel – with some 700 sailors in total – caught social media users and academics by surprise, with some questioning the visit’s timing and why…

DND chief tells Asean: Let’s keep South China Sea open to overflights, navigation

Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana has underscored the need to keep the South China Sea open to overflights and international navigation amid confidence-building measures in addressing the region’s contentious territorial issue with the Asean as a single body. The defense secretary made the remarks at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue held over the weekend in Singapore, which was attended by the world’s top defense and military officials. “What we should all agree on, however, is that freedom of navigation and overflight in global sea lines of communications is indispensable to regional…

Marianas Variety – Top Philippine court orders government to protect South China Sea

MANILA (Reuters) — The Philippine Supreme Court ordered the government and security agencies on Friday to protect the environment in disputed areas of the South China Sea, responding to fishermen’s complaints of inaction against illegal Chinese activity. The top court said it had issued a writ instructing heads of key ministries, the coastguard, navy and police to enforce international conventions and domestic laws to protect reefs and marine life in the Philippines’ 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone. The order represents a rare challenge by the judiciary to what critics…

Shanahan, Pentagon hit Beijing over South China Sea aggression

The Pentagon issued a scathing rebuke Friday of what it said were China’s destabilizing military, economic and diplomatic policies across the globe, focusing particularly on the contested waters of the South China Sea, saying Beijing’s efforts were designed to upend international stability across the Asia-Pacific and beyond. The 55-page draft review of China’s efforts by the Pentagon lays bare the Asian superpower’s attempts to subvert U.S. and allied interests to ensure Beijing’s military and economic hegemony on the international stage. The Chinese government “undermines the international system from within by…

Palestinian cities are ghost towns between settlements, on Google Maps – Mondoweiss

In Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith happens upon an old newspaper clipping that proves that Big Brother had framed three men for crimes against the state. All past evidence contradicting the regime’s ever-changing “truth” was supposed to have been destroyed, but this one scrap had been missed. Winston finished the job — though to his ultimate demise, destroying the evidence could not erase the knowledge from his mind. What Orwell could not have foreseen was a world in which Big Brother did not need to destroy evidence, a world in which…

Tensions escalate as US warships sail past islands claimed by China

The ships were warned away by the Chinese navy (Picture: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images) Two US warships have sailed near islands claimed by China today in a move that could aggravate tense relations between the countries. According to the US military, the guided-missile destroyers Preble and Chung Hoon travelled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs by the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea. The waterway is one area of dispute between the US and China that has the potential of triggering a war. Family’s £3,000 holiday ruined…

In Philippines, mysterious whistle-blower claiming Duterte’s family took millions in drug kickbacks unveils his identity – South China Morning Post

In Philippines, mysterious whistle-blower claiming Duterte’s family took millions in drug kickbacks unveils his identity  South China Morning Post An anonymous whistle-blower who appeared shrouded by darkness in videos accusing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s family of taking millions from a drug syndicate has stunned the nation by revealing his identity. The hooded figure known as Bikoy on Monday unveiled himself as a bald, round-faced man with glasses, after claiming in the clips that he used to keep financial records for a drug syndicate called the “Quadrangle Group” which included members of…

Shanahan to call out China over South China Sea | Nation and World

SINGAPORE (AP) — U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said he will call out China in a speech Saturday over its militarization of manmade islands in the South China Sea and broader use of coercion to advance its national interests. He said his broader message to the Shangri-La Dialogue security conference will emphasize what the U.S. has done to expand its commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, against the backdrop of China’s growing influence and massive military buildup. Speaking to reporters just before he stepped into a meeting Friday with Chinese…