Asia

Hong Kong pro-democracy protests draw low turnout, 21 years after British handover to China

Hong Kong’s annual pro-democracy protest saw one of the lowest turnouts in history, as thousands braved sweltering heat to protest against Beijing’s tightening grip over the city on the 21st anniversary of its return to Chinese rule. ABC Organisers said 50,000 protested, in one of their lowest estimates since the annual march started in 2003. Police said 9,800 attended at the peak — the lowest figure on their record. Hong Kong’s opposition has lost much steam in the past year, ... Read More »

Australia prepares to block Japanese bid to kill whales for profit

Australia and other anti-whaling nations are set for a showdown with Japan amid reports it will formally seek to lift a ban on commercial whaling so it can slaughter the animals for profit. Nicole Hasham Brisbane Times Japanese officials have reportedly confirmed the country will propose the resumption of commercial whaling at an International Whaling Commission meeting in Brazil in September, on the condition only whales with healthy population numbers are killed. Japan’s current so-called “research” program kills whales in ... Read More »

Why female suicide in Afghanistan is so prevalent

“I didn’t want to live any more. That’s why I tried to kill myself with poison.” Sana Safi BBC Jamila (not her real name) attempted suicide after she felt abandoned and betrayed by her fiancé – who decided, after a six-year-engagement, that he no longer wanted to marry her because she was “not a young woman any more”. Jamila is 18 – and her family arranged her engagement when she was just 12. She was taken to a hospital in ... Read More »

The Palestinians and Nuclear Weapons

The unresolved Israel-Palestinian conflict is one of the major factors preventing an effective region-wide prohibition of nuclear weapons. Paul R. Pillar The National Interest The significance of the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been the subject of tendentious debates. The right-wing government of Israel, not wanting to relinquish the conquered land whose relinquishment would be necessary for peace, often contends, along with its sympathizers, that peace in… The region has become preoccupied with other things, goes the argument, and even ... Read More »

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Opportunities and Risks

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, opened in 2015, could bring needed jobs and investment to Pakistan. But many projects also risk widening social divides and heightening political tensions along the route. With Beijing’s support, Islamabad should seek the… ICG What’s new? Pakistani leaders say the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), launched in 2015, is a “game changer” for the country’s ailing economy. But opaque plans for the corridor, the upheaval likely to affect locals along its route, and profits flowing mostly to ... Read More »

How the Iran sanctions drama intersects with OPEC-plus

Major states buying oil from Iran are unlikely to heed the US call to drop imports; key allies want a waiver to avoid sanctions; OPEC, meanwhile, will have trouble boosting output in the short-term; the puzzle is not solved, but there are dark clouds. Pepe Escobar Asia Times History may have registered stranger geoeconomic bedfellows. But in the current OPEC-plus world, the rules of the game are now de facto controlled by OPEC powerhouse Saudi Arabia in concert with non-OPEC Russia. Russia ... Read More »

South China Sea: Beijing won’t give up “even one inch” of the territory it claims

With tensions mounting over its increasingly assertive actions in the South China Sea, China just made clear that its position isn’t about to change. Steve Mollman QUARTZ Meeting US defense secretary James Mattis in Beijing yesterday, Chinese president Xi Jinping said, “we cannot lose even one inch of the territory left behind by our ancestors.” He added, “what is other people’s we do not want at all.” Those statements are no doubt galling to those familiar with international law. China ... Read More »

Erdogan’s Victory Could Actually Improve U.S.-Turkish Relations

Turkey’s decisive election results and shaky geopolitical situation could make it more amenable to addressing U.S. concerns about Russian weapons sales, Iranian adventurism, and other key security issues. James Jeffrey Breaking Energy At first glance, the June 24 electoral sweep by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s coalition did not go over well in the United States. In response to his renewed grasp on the executive branch and parliament, many observers expressed regrets that the West-leaning opposition did not garner more ... Read More »

China caught in a conundrum over economic policy

Central bank governor Yi’s calming message fails to ease market and currency concerns as NIFD warns of ‘financial panic’ in leaked report Gordon Watts Asia Times Stay calm and don’t panic. Sound advice. But it appears no one is listening to Yi Gang, the People’s Bank of China governor. As fears grow of a trade war between Beijing and Washington, the… Last week, Yi called for investors to “remain calm” after the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index dropped 3.78%, dipping below ... Read More »

‘Witness K’ and lawyer Bernard Collaery charged with breaching intelligence act over East Timor spying revelations

A Canberra lawyer whose client exposed a secret Australian spying operation in East Timor has described the prosecution against them both as an attack on freedom of… By defence reporter Andrew Greene and Lucy Sweeney ABC On Thursday, using parliamentary privilege, independent MP Andrew Wilkie revealed the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions recently filed criminal charges against Bernard Collaery and… Witness K had raised concerns about a covert Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) operation he ran to bug East Timor’s cabinet in 2004 ... Read More »

The US Weighs Its Options in the South China Sea

Over the past year, there’s been a growing chorus of warnings from the United States that it’s preparing to adopt a more confrontational stance in the South China Sea. GPF With China’s installation of radar jamming equipment and long-range anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles this spring on Fiery Cross Reef – one of China’s seven artificial islands in the disputed Spratly archipelago – the pretense that Chinese President Xi Jinping intended to uphold his vague pledge in 2015 to… Now, the ... Read More »

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the political giant with a cane

On June 24, Turkish citizens voted in presidential and parliamentary snap elections, with a huge turnout. Authors: The Conversation As expected, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected president while his Islamo-nationalist bloc allies – the Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) – obtained a parliamentary majority. While both victories were won by narrow margins, Erdoğan took 52.5% of the vote, coming out well ahead of his opponents. The main opposition candidate, Muharrem İnce, obtained 31%, followed by the ... Read More »

Who initiated the Arms Embargo against the Republic of Cyprus?

H.R. 5508 which was introduced recently in Washington aiming at terminating the Cyprus Arms Embargo Act which was imposed by the United States of America upon the Republic of Cyprus in 1987, is a worthwhile effort by all that have worked for its preparation. It can even be argued as belated, but it is never too late. Fanoulla Argyrou * When in 1987 the USA imposed the Embargo, it is claimed that it was done “in order to encourage reunification ... Read More »

U.S. Says It Will Sanction NATO Ally Turkey for Russian Defense System

The U.S. will take the unprecedented step of imposing sanctions on a NATO ally when Turkey receives a Russian missile defense system, according to a State Department official testifying before… Cagan Koc Bloomberg The delivery of the S-400s will impair military cooperation between the U.S. and Turkey and will damage relations between the countries more generally, Wess Mitchell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State… The U.S. has been clear that the “acquisition of S-400 will inevitably affect prospects for Turkish military-industrial ... Read More »

Turkey’s election should be a warning for Western democracy

Adnan R. Khan in Istanbul: Erdogan’s brand of populism still wins, and it’s an example of what happens in a country that has no political centre. Adnan R. Khan MACLEAN’s Sunday was supposed to be a historic moment in Turkey. For the first time in its democratic history, Turkey held presidential and parliamentary elections concurrently; for the first time, political parties were allowed to run as alliances; for the first time in 16 years, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced a… ... Read More »

‘Turkey’s Decision on S-400 Purchase Final, Irreversible’ – Former Envoy to US

Washington has been struggling to convince Ankara to abandon the deal to buy S-400 defense systems from Moscow, with Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell… Sputnik Sputnik discussed the reasons behind the harsh reaction from Washington towards Ankara in relation to its acquisition of Russian S-400s with Amur Hajiyev, the head of the center for… He expressed the opinion that the US is attempting to maintain its influence on Turkey, since the latest developments demonstrate that Washington’s grip is lessening. Hajiyev said Ankara… ‘Turkey’s Decision on… Read More »