South China Sea crisis: How Iran feud and Australia fires could help China dominate | World | News

US military resources are being stretched further in the Middle East after tensions with Iran nearly escalated into conflict earlier this month. On January 3, President Trump gave the go ahead for a devastating strike which killed Iran’s most important military figure – Qassem Soleimani. In response, Iran hit Ain al-Assad airbase in Iraq, which many believed were holding US soldiers, with at least 10 ballistic missiles. While no US soldiers were hurt thanks to pre-strike warnings, the US has nevertheless had to allocate more military resources to the Middle…

China’s Pacific Expansion Is A Hard Test for Australia

A decade ago, then-U.S. President Barack Obama billed himself as the “first Pacific president” and announced, several years later, a foreign-policy “pivot to Asia.” But the pivot proved largely illusory, and the region only grows more complex. The growing challenges faced by Pacific island countries requires significant reassessment as the region becomes one of the tensest political battlegrounds in the world. A growing battle of diplomatic and economic statecraft is playing out on remote islands. China is acutely aware that the fledgling democracies of the Pacific are prone to shortsightedness—and…

Fuel deal between Trump and Australia backed

The US deal, which is yet to be signed off by Mr Trump, would allow Australia access to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and its 640 million barrels of crude oil stored across a network of underground caverns. Loading Australia would be able to store its own fuel in the Texas and Louisiana facilities or use US-owned stocks in an emergency, effectively preventing the need to spend billions of dollars building storage facilities in Australia to meet the IEA rules. IEA executive director Fatih Birol endorsed the negotiations and said a…

India Australia: India, Australia ‘natural partnership’ registers steady growth in 2019

MELBOURNE: The “natural partnership” between India and Australia witnessed a steady growth in 2019 on several fronts, especially in the defence sector primarily due to a common concern about China’s increasing military presence in the Indo-Pacific, but differences remained over New Delhi’s alleged restrictive trade policies and its stance over a regional free trade pact. The trade relations also grew between the two sides with the two way trade currently standing at over 29 billion Australian dollars even without a free trade agreement (FTA). Great strides have been made to…

Fraudster or spy? Australia gets the jitters over China

Is Wang Liqiang a spy for Chinese military intelligence? Or is he a fraudster who cheated someone out of 4.6 million renminbi (£500,000) through a car import investment scheme and was trying to get away with it? That’s the question the Australian government and its intelligence agencies must confront. The story is being followed with intense interest not only by the public in Australia, but worldwide, amid rising concern about the spread of Chinese influence and the infiltration of universities, politics and business. Western diplomats say that Beijing’s long-term aim…

India Australia relations: Why the South China Sea may emerge as a priority in India-Australia 2+2 dialogue

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison&nbsp | &nbspPhoto Credit:&nbspPTI Key Highlights The last decade has seen significant geopolitical shifts in the Asia-Pacific region, that led to the four countries revitalising the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue originally established in 2007 The first Quad talks in 2017 suggested a convergence of strategies between the four nations as they related to maritime security, navigation and the need for a rules-based approach For India, the Maritime Silk Road, and its overland counterpart is viewed as part of China’s…

Australia and Indonesia voice ‘serious concerns’ about South China Sea

The ministers also said a South China Sea code of conduct – the subject of years of discussions between China and the Association of south-east Asian Nations (ASEAN) – must be “substantive”, consistent with international law and “not prejudice the interests of third parties”. Loading China, which controversially claims a vast swathe of the South China Sea as its territory, reportedly does not want any code to be subject to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and wants to curb the United States’ involvement in…

Yang Hengjun: Chinese officials try to ‘break’ Australian writer with daily interrogations | Australia news

The detained Australian writer Dr Yang Hengjun is being subjected to daily interrogations with his arms and legs shackled, as Chinese security officials try to “break” him, his lawyers say, pushing for him to confess to unspecified allegations of espionage that potentially carry the death penalty. Yang, an Australian citizen and globally influential pro-democracy political blogger, has been held by China’s Ministry of State Security since being detained in Guangzhou in January. After months held in secret detention, Yang’s conditions of incarceration had eased, but sources with knowledge of his…

Chinese students in Australia speak: ‘I hope our countries can benefit each other’ | World news

Chinese students in Australia have been accused of trying to stifle freedom of speech on campus, of attacking pro-democracy protesters and of undermining the quality of education at our top universities which are increasingly dependent on the money they bring. They stand at the centre of many of our political debates as we navigate the increasing influence of China in our region, its attempts to infiltrate our politics and institutions, and Australia’s increasing economic dependence. In all this, the voices of individual Chinese students are rarely heard. Over the past…