Philippine VFA exit raises stakes in Pacific competition with China

Philippine plans to exit the Visiting Forces Agreement signed with the US in the 1990s won’t go into effect until August, but the move is already raising concerns about relations to the US. The potential end of that deal, and a diminished US military presence, comes at a time when the US and its partners in the region are seeking to counter China’s efforts to expand its influence. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent decision to withdraw from the Visiting Forces Agreement comes after…

South China Sea news: Vietnam ’spy boats’ infiltrating Beijing waters in illegal move | World | News

According to the South China Morning Post, around 34 Vietnamese boats sailed close to Hainan between January 19 and 31. Most of these vessels went close to the territorial limit, according to South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative. The South China Sea Strategic Situation Probing Initiative is a Peking University think tank. The move, it says, is seen as Vietnam bolstering its presence, while increasing tension with China. A report says: “As it is known to all, there are a number of Chinese naval and airbases. “It would make…

Why The Battleship Could Make a Comeback (Thanks to China)

Key point: With advanced armor, a modern battleship would be a ship that could be put in harm’s way in the reasonable expectation of coming home in one piece. In World War II, the Japanese super-battleships Yamato and Musahi each mounted nine 18.1-inch guns, the largest naval guns ever deployed, but they never sank a single American ship. In a conflict decided by naval aviation, Yamato and Musahi were used mainly as flagships and troop transports. Despite their huge armaments, they were steel dinosaurs from an earlier strategic age. But how do you sink a steel dinosaur? The answer…

China Syndrome: our surprising dependence on China for our prescription drugs

In the 1990’s, the US, Europe, and Japan manufactured 90 percent of the key ingredients from medicine and vitamins. But now China is the largest global supplier. It seems like a reasonable time to take another look at my Full Measure report from August of 2018 about the fact that we have become increasingly dependent on China for our prescription drugs. Watch the video of the story at the link and read the transcript below. http://fullmeasure.news/news/politics/china-syndrome-08-13-2018 There’s been a quiet but dramatic shift in where we get our prescription drugs.…

South China Sea latest: Malaysia, China and Vietnam in ‘dangerous game of chicken’ | World | News

An Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) report gave a blow-by-blow account of “a dangerous ongoing game of chicken” stretching back to last October. The dispute involves navy vessels, coastguard boats, militia vessels, a drill ship called the West Capella and offshore supply ships. The West Capella, contracted by the Malaysian state energy firm Petronas, is at the centre of the stand-off. AMTI, affiliated to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said it made its findings based on the vessels’ automatic identification system (AIS) broadcasts and commercial satellite imagery. The…

Vietnam Advancing Ties With Russia to Hedge Against China, US | Voice of America

TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Scholars in Asia say Vietnam’s move this month to bolster defense ties with Russia will advance the Southeast Asian country’s pursuit of a multi-country foreign policy allowing it to depend on no single outside power. The country that has been challenged by France, the United States and China within the past decade welcomes Russian assistance, Vietnamese state media outlets said after their Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich visited Moscow Feb. 5.  “He therefore highlighted Vietnam’s consistent policy of enhancing the solidarity, friendship and comprehensive strategic cooperation with…