Thais ditch China-led plan to dredge Mekong, SE Asia News & Top Stories

BANGKOK • Thailand has spiked Chinese-led plans to open up a key stretch of the Mekong river, in a rare victory for activists fighting to preserve South-east Asia’s most important waterway. Beijing has long wanted to blast 97km of rocks and dredge the river bed in northern Thailand to open up a passage for massive cargo ships. The vision is to create a river trade link from China’s Yunnan province thousands of kilometres south through the Mekong countries – Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. But environmentalists warn that the…

China’s Modernizing Military | Council on Foreign Relations

The Chinese government is working to make its military stronger, more efficient, and more technologically advanced to become a top-tier force within thirty years. With a budget that has soared over the past decade, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) already ranks among the world’s leading militaries in areas including artificial intelligence and anti-ship ballistic missiles. More From Our Experts Experts warn that as China’s military modernizes, it could become more assertive in the Asia-Pacific region by intensifying pressure on Taiwan and continuing to militarize disputed islands in the East and South China Seas.…

The President’s Inbox: What Should U.S. Policy Toward China Be?

The latest episode of The President’s Inbox is live. This week, I discussed U.S. policy toward China with Mira Rapp-Hooper, the Stephen A. Schwarzman senior fellow for Asia studies at CFR, and Michael D. Swaine, senior fellow in the Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Here are three takeaways from our conversation: More on: Election 2020 China United States U.S. Foreign Policy 1. Competition has replaced engagement as the fundamental characteristic of U.S.-China relations. Starting with Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972, the United States…

To Deter China, the Naval Services Must Integrate

Change on the scale envisioned by the National Defense Strategy isn’t always easy, or pretty. Observers of American strategy often wonder how the United States will focus on great power competition when it cannot escape the gravitational pull of the Middle East. This is a worthy topic of debate and causes me no small amount of consternation as well. But even as Washington might look for ways to bring its commitments in the Middle East to a more sustainable level, let’s not ignore the lessons simmering conflicts there and elsewhere…

South China Sea threat: Trump ramps up pressure on Beijing as US patrols reach record high | World | News

In 2019 US freedom of navigation patrols in the South China Sea hit a record high, leading one expert to claim it shows US President Donald Trump is pursuing a “concrete drive” to emphasise US security commitments to the region. The Navy patrols represent a sign of strength by the US and an attempt to challenge China’s territorial claims in the contested waters – which holds untapped energy reserves and about one-third of maritime trade. Last year US navy vessels sailed within 12 nautical miles of features claims or occupied…

CHINA – UNITED STATES Trump focuses on good relations with China, except for Huawei and South China Sea

Speaking to Congress, the US president claims victory in the trade war with China, but an overall deal with Beijing remains elusive. Washington continues to oppose Huawei, is sending its warships into waters claimed by China, and plans to deploy hypersonic missiles to Japan. Washington (AsiaNews/Agencies) – In his State of the Union address to Congress yesterday, US President Donald Trump praised the recent trade deal with Beijing, noting that “we have perhaps the best relationship we have ever had with China”. The deal is the first stage of negotiations…

In challenging China’s claims in the South China Sea, the US Navy is getting more assertive

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Navy conducted more freedom of navigation operations in 2019 than in any year since the U.S. began more aggressively challenging China’s claims in the South China Sea in 2015. The Navy conducted seven FONOPs in the South China Sea last year, according to records provided by U.S. Pacific Fleet. The FONOPs are designed to challenge China’s claim to maritime rights and dominion over several island chains in the region, which have put the U.S. and its allies at loggerheads with China. Patrols by U.S. warships come…

Asia Times | Vietnam poised to be post-Brexit Britain’s Asia ally

Now that Britain has finally left the European Union, after years of rumination and wrangling, it’s time to see what the Conservative government means by a new “global Britain.” Perhaps a clue was the UK’s opening of a new mission to the ASEAN bloc in Jakarta on January 15, following the appointment of a dedicated UK ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in October. As Prime Minister Boris Johnson promises to lead the biggest review of British foreign policy since the end of the Cold War, we will almost certainly…

UPDATE 1-LNG tanker diverted from China in sign of weaker demand

(Adds background) By Ekaterina Kravtsova and Arathy S Nair LONDON/BENGALURU, Feb 4 (Reuters) – A liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker that had been heading to China has been diverted, data intelligence firm Kpler and two industry sources said on Tuesday, probably due to lower demand for the fuel as businesses are hit by the coronavirus outbreak. The Tangguh Foja tanker loaded a cargo at the Tangguh LNG plant in Indonesia last month and had been heading to China’s Rudong terminal in Jiangsu province, Refinitiv shipping data shows. It was diverted…

No edge for India in US-China deal

No doubt the Chinese will respond at some point, albeit not directly, to Nirmala Sitharaman’s package of taxes pointedly designed to prevent China dumping in India. For now, however, Beijing is absorbed in the after-effects of the 22-month-long trade dispute with Washington which ended on January 15 when Donald Trump and Liu He, the Chinese vice-premier, signed a Phase One deal. Both sides know they face a much tougher Phase Two process amid a wider race for global technical and military supremacy reaching far beyond trade tensions. Although’s China’s trade…