Threat to Scrap US-Philippine Pact Resonates around Southeast Asia

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat to terminate a linchpin military pact with longtime treaty ally the United States – if implemented – could not only shake up Manila’s defense policy but impact a delicate balance in ties between Southeast Asia and the U.S. and China, analysts say. Duterte plans to scrap the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which the Philippines ratified in 1999. It governs the U.S. military presence in the country and places American forces there under United States jurisdiction. The pact gives American forces access to Philippine facilities, airspace, and…

South China Sea: US military operations bringing China to brink of war – shock claim | World | News

The South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative’s annual report claims the United States has intensified its military operations in the region’s waters. It claimed American forces had conducted eight so-called freedom of navigation operations – in which US vessels sail within 12 nautical miles of land claimed or occupied by China – last year, which was three more than in 2018. The report, which tracks US activity in the South China Sea, also said America had engaged in at least 50 joint and multiple exercises with countries from Southeast…

The economic trends that coronavirus won’t change — Quartz

The longer the coronavirus pandemic persists, the more it shakes our belief in linear progress. From 9/11 to the financial crisis to the current global pandemic, we have experienced a major global shock roughly every 10 years. And each time, there are unanimous cries that “everything will change.” Yet numerous trends that were underway before the current global shutdown began will not only continue, but accelerate. Here are five such undercurrents that will be reinforced by the pandemic. If nothing else, this list should give us a more confident view…

West ‘Reaping the Whirlwind’ for Policy of Kow-Towing to China: IDS

Former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith has said the West is “reaping the whirlwind” for a policy of kowtowing to China and allowing supply chains to become dependant on the communist country. “There are a whole range of problems with China that grow and grow the more we feed it,” the MP told Maajid Nawaz on LBC on Sunday. “[Kowtowing] is what the West has essentially been doing now for some time, and now we’re beginning to reap the whirlwind,” he said, pointing not just to the present…

China Won’t Be the Chief Beneficiary of the Coronavirus Pandemic

According to the experts, this was supposed to be the “Chinese century.” For some of those experts, it will be China’s century still. In their eyes, the unique coronavirus that the People’s Republic incubated and, as a result of myopia, paranoia, and old-fashioned autocratic lethargy, loosed upon the world hasn’t slowed China’s ascension. The pandemic may have even accelerated it. “The Chinese are in a much stronger position,” said Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer. “They’ve basically contained the virus through technology-powered, authoritarian surveillance,” he added, “and they’ve leveraged this success…

China Produces Record Amount Of “Fire Ice”

In a world awash in oil and gas, you’d think it couldn’t get any worse. Well, it can: China just announced that it had extracted a record amount of what has been poetically called fire ice.  It is, however, a form of natural gas trapped in frozen water.  At 861,400 cubic meters, this record might not be a whole lot of gas, but it may well be the start of something new, and gas producers may not like this ‘something’. Gas hydrates don’t garner a lot of media attention as…

China Ramps South China Sea Provocations as US Battles CCP Virus

News Analysis China has sent its marine militia into the South China Sea to engage in a series of military provocations as America battles the CCP virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus. Beginning in January, the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM), referred to as “little blue men,” began moving vessels through the 34-mile long Union Banks, a sunken atoll in the center of the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands chain, according to vessel tracking and satellite imagery reviewed by Radio Free Asia (RFA). Despite the UN-recognitions for Malaysia,…

Aker Solutions secures Brunei brownfield services contract

3/30/2020 Aker Solutions, in a joint venture with PTAS Sdn Bhd, has signed a five-year agreement to provide offshore maintenance and modification services to Brunei Shell Petroleum (BSP). Scope of work covers maintenance and upgrades to maintain production levels for more than 200 offshore assets. The name of the new entity is PTAS Aker Solutions Sdn Bhd. The joint venture will ensure continuity of delivery to BSP and has a strong local execution capability, combined with the full value of Aker Solutions’ international expertise. The work…

Chinese military expert advocates using lasers to paralyze US warships in South China Sea

The Chinese military should consider using non-lethal lasers on U.S. Navy warships to discourage their transits through the South China Sea, a state-run newspaper in China said Tuesday. Chinese military expert Song Zhongping told Global Times that the use of electromagnetic weapons, such as low-energy laser devices, could “send a strong warning” by temporarily paralyzing weapon and control systems on U.S. ships — all done “without visible conflict.” Song’s recommendation came just days after U.S. Navy and Marine units arrived Sunday in the South China Sea for expeditionary strike force…