UK’s Hammond: Talk of warship deployment complicates China ties, Europe News & Top Stories

LONDON (REUTERS) – Britain’s talk of deploying a warship in the Pacific has complicated its relationship with China, finance minister Philip Hammond said on Thursday (Feb 21).   As Britain prepares to leave the European Union at the end of next month, its biggest foreign and trade policy shift in more than 40 years, it is seeking to strengthen diplomatic relationships and trade ties with countries around the world.   Earlier this month defence minister Gavin Williamson said Britain would use military force to support its interests after Brexit and outlined plans to…

Singapore navy launches first of its four new submarines, Singapore News & Top Stories

Singapore’s acquisition of new submarines which offer more firepower and combat options is a timely move as maritime security challenges evolve and countries beef up their submarine fleets, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen. Speaking yesterday at the launch of the first Type 218SG submarine named Invincible, Dr Ng said Singapore faces threats in the maritime domain, including terrorism, the shipping of illegal arms, weapons of mass destruction and people, as well as piracy. He noted that in Asia, defence spending has risen significantly, hitting US$447 billion (S$606 billion) in…

The pudding incident and our China-chummy government: Inquirer, SE Asia News & Top Stories

MANILA (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Are Filipinos overacting in their frenzied response to the “taho” (soy pudding) -throwing incident involving a female Chinese national and a Filipino policeman at the MRT station? Are we being our typical emotional, easily agitated selves when we demand that the Chinese woman who disrespected local law enforcement be meted forceful censure, even deportation? The palace by the Pasig thinks so. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. pooh-poohed it as “pathetic,” a “non-issue trying to be one.” This being Locsin, he had more to…

China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi hopes US implements consensus reached by both countries’ leaders, East Asia News & Top Stories

MUNICH (XINHUA) – Mr Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, expressed the hope on Saturday (Feb 16) that the United States would implement, along with China, the consensus reached by the two heads of state, advancing bilateral ties based on coordination, cooperation and stability. When answering questions about the China-US relationship after addressing the ongoing 55th Munich Security Conference, Mr Yang said that the world is faced with both opportunities and challenges, and all countries need to cooperate with…

Asean-Beijing South China Sea talks set to start by late-Feb, SE Asia News & Top Stories

Negotiations for a pact between Asean nations and China aimed at easing tensions in the South China Sea are to begin later this month, said Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen early today at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. Asean and China agreed at their summit in Singapore last November to the early conclusion of a code of conduct (COC) for the South China Sea. “(Chinese) PM Li Keqiang, in Singapore in November last year, set a proposed timeline for the COC to be finished in three years,” noted Dr…

Q&A with young leaders at US-Asean Partnership Forum, SE Asia News & Top Stories

JAKARTA – Some of the young leaders taking part in the US-Asean Partnership Forum in Jakarta share their personal thoughts on the event, and on US-Asean ties. Here’s what they have to say before the start of the three-day forum on Monday (Feb 11). Deepu Nair, 31, Singapore Management Consultant, Frost & Sullivan Thoughts on US-Asean relations: The US has played a critical role in shaping the post-colonial history of Asean and ensuring political stability for many of the regimes around the region. Even though the US has been surpassed…

Philippines will protest against China’s rescue centre in South China Sea: envoy, SE Asia News & Top Stories

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) – The Philippines will protest against China’s opening of a maritime rescue centre in the South China Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin said, just days after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman said the nation should be grateful for the move. Mr Locsin said he supports Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio’s position that the Philippines must contest China’s construction of the rescue centre on Fiery Cross Reef, which Xinhua reported on Jan 29. Mr Carpio was part of the Philippine delegation which won a 2016 ruling that China’s efforts…

Talks on the cards to review US-Philippine defence pact, SE Asia News & Top Stories

MANILA (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Philippine and United States officials on Thursday (Feb 7) confirmed that talks were being planned to review and possibly revise the 1951 Mutual Defence Treaty (MDT) between the two countries. But the timetable and provisions being considered for revision have yet to be agreed on, according to Foreign Under-secretary Enrique Manalo, Defence Under-secretary Cardozo Luna and US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim. In his remarks at a think tank conference on US-Philippine relations, Mr Luna called for a review of the treaty…

Don’t underestimate China’s ambition, Letters in Print News & Top Stories

As an established academic and a seasoned diplomat, Mr Kishore Mahbubani’s views on China’s ambition reflect an expectation that the country will be a benign superpower. In his recent article, he appears to be simply describing China’s inevitable rise without bringing up any caveats on what could possibly go wrong (How the US and China can avoid war; Jan 27). China’s disregard of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention in the South China Sea and its unilateral action in setting up an air defence identification zone in the…

Asian Insider Jan 30: A sensitive data breach in Singapore, Brexit and more, Asia News & Top Stories

Beijing to tighten grip on South China Sea Strategic tensions surrounding the South China Sea aren’t likely to subside, never mind that Beijing may be prepared to offer concessions to the US on the trade front in this week’s talks. Since 2009, when China surprised the world with its nine-dash-line claim that encompasses most of the waters, it has steadily sought to consolidate its presence there, including building permanent structures on islands it claims and militarising the features. Charissa Yong, our Washington Correspondent, cites newly released US intelligence assessments that…