Asia

US Wants To Change The Law Of The Sea – Analysis

The US is frustrated by North Korea’s continuing violation of UN sanctions by using rogue vessels to import and export banned cargo, sometimes transferring the cargo at sea. Mark J. Valencia Eurasia Review So it wants to interdict suspect vessels on the high seas using force if necessary. The problem is that doing so without the consent of the flag state would violate the international law of the sea. John Bolton, the US National Security Advisor is taking the lead ... Read More »

Picking Up the Pieces After Hanoi

The collapse of last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was perhaps the inevitable result of a process in which the two leaders dominated, optimistic about their personal relationship and confident in their abilities. Richard N. Haass Project Syndicate The question is what to do now. NEW YORK – When last month’s summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal, the result was not surprising. ... Read More »

The Best of Bad Options for Syria’s Idlib

The Syrian regime vows to reconquer Idlib, the north-western zone hosting its hardest-core remaining jihadist opposition. ICG But an all-out offensive would be calamitous. Turkey and Russia should recommit to their “de-escalation” deal for Idlib, bolstering it with measures that buy time for a lasting solution. What’s new? An agreement between Turkey and Russia that protects Syria’s rebel-held Idlib governorate from a regime offensive is under increasing stress. Clashes between jihadists and other militants inside Idlib and regime forces have ... Read More »

Silk Road opens a rift in Italy’s government

Washington and Brussels fear Rome is getting too close to China. Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli Politico ROME — Italy’s government has split over whether to sign onto China’s landmark “One Belt, One Road” infrastructure program that runs across Asia to key European trade hubs. Some 13 EU countries have signed up to China’s new Silk Road plan, but Washington and Brussels are deeply concerned that the involvement of G7 heavyweight Rome could lend greater credibility to a project that they view as a… Prime ... Read More »

China’s growing Latin America ties also matter for Australia

When China’s increasing links to Latin America are discussed, Australia might not be the first country that comes to mind. Erin Watson-Lynn the interpreter Lowy Institute But for Australian policy makers, Beijing’s push into Latin America matters. Australia must do more itself to strengthen its otherwise nascent relationships with the region, especially as China works to fill the vacuum left by the United States’ absence in the region. Two important developments make this need clear. Rethinking Australia’s geographic proximity It ... Read More »

Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh jailed ‘for 38 years’ in Iran

Lawyer sentenced to decades in prison and 148 lashes, husband writes on Facebook Reuters in Geneva The Guardian Nasrin Sotoudeh, an internationally renowned human rights lawyer jailed in Iran, has been handed a new sentence that her husband said was 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. Sotoudeh, who has represented opposition activists including women prosecuted for removing their mandatory headscarf, was arrested in Juneand charged with spying, spreading propaganda and insulting Iran’s supreme leader, her lawyer said. She was jailed ... Read More »

Indonesia leans towards Iver Huitfeldt class for frigate acquisition

Defence planners from the Indonesian Ministry of Defence (MoD) are increasingly leaning towards a variant of the Iver Huitfeldt class in their quest to acquire two more frigates for the… Ridzwan Rahmat, Singapore – Jane’s Navy International The frigates are being acquired as part of the second phase of the Minimum Essential Force (MEF) modernisation blueprint, which runs from 2015 to 2019. Indonesia acquired two SIGMA 10514 vessels from… A piece of unclassified correspondence between the country’s defence minister, Ryamizard ... Read More »

German Foreign Ministry tightens travel advisory for Turkey

Germany has advised its citizens they risk arrest for expressing opinions that would be tolerated at home but may not be by Turkish authorities. Deutsche Welle German nationals have been arbitrarily arrested over the last two years. The Foreign Ministry in Berlin has updated its travel advisory for Turkey, saying opinions expressed freely in Germany may not be tolerated by Turkish authorities. The advice was directed at journalists, at people who had taken part in some meetings and at anyone ... Read More »

Will the US and Turkey break up over Russian S-400?

WASHINGTON, DC – Fans of diplomatic history realize the importance of dates: They mark milestones, turning points, make-or-break moments. ekathimerini Endy Zemenides Those who follow Turkey are keenly aware that a new era in the country’s diplomatic history is taking shape before us. March 4 and 5, 2019 are sure to become important dates in this new diplomatic history. This past Monday, reversing a trend of handling issues with Ankara quietly and in private, US President Donald Trump sent a ... Read More »

US issues warning to Italy on China economic initiative

The U.S. issued an indirect warning to Italy on Saturday for its coziness with China. Daniel Jativa Washington Examiner The European Union country is weighing sign ing up with China’s global economic effort, called the Belt and Road Initiative. “Italy is a major global economy and a great investment destination. Endorsing BRI lends legitimacy to China’s predatory approach to investment and will bring no benefits to the Italian people,” the tweet said. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the… US issues ... Read More »

US, Philippine defense ties under the gun

Washington says for first time it will come to Manila’s defense in the South China Sea but Filipino top brass want even firmer security assurances Richard Javad Heydarian Asia Times Ιn a policy departure with ramifications for regional peace and stability, US President Donald Trump’s administration has explicitly reaffirmed its obligations to the Philippines under their 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT). US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on March 1 during a visit to Manila that his country would ... Read More »

How to Make a Middle East Superpower: Arm Israel with F-22s and B-21 Bombers

Possible? This is not to say that Israel needs, or could use, something analogous to the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine. Robert Farley The National Interest However, a more modest boat with a smaller number of missiles of limited range could indeed prove very useful to Israel’s efforts to create a robust second-strike capability. A flotilla of four such boats would provide a nearly invulnerable retaliatory capacity. With only a few notable exceptions, Israel can buy whatever it wants from the… ... Read More »

Lebanon asserts against using maritime borders for gas pipeline from Israel to EU

Lebanon on Thursday warned its Mediterranean neighbours that a planned EastMed gas pipeline from Israel to the European Union must not be allowed to violate its… Devdiscourse Beirut has an unresolved maritime border dispute with Israel – which it regards as an enemy country – over a sea area of about 860 sq km (330 square miles) extending along the… Israel is hoping to enlist several European countries in the construction of a 2,000 km (1,243 miles) pipeline linking vast ... Read More »

Javad Zarif Returns—to a Foreign Ministry Still Out in the Cold

Iran’s Top Diplomat Vies for Authority “Considering that state affairs are not carried out in an optimal way free from the meddling of irresponsible persons, I am forced to resign my post to warn of potential dangers. By Mehrzad Boroujerdi FP I do not see it fitting to stay on as a cabinet member without being able to introduce any fundamental changes in the current system.” These were the departing words of Karim Sanjabi, Iran’s first postrevolutionary foreign minister, who ... Read More »

Is Turkey exploiting the international community in order to suppress dissent?

According to Turkish journalist Uzay Bulut, Erdogan throws around charges of being a Gulenist or associated with Jews or a member of a terror group in the framework of spreading “conspiracy theories”… by Rachel Avraham Foreign Policy According to Turkish journalist Rafael Sadi, “Erdogan’s government is very scared and is looking everywhere for Gulenists. They are suspicious of everyone.  No one feels free to talk or write.” In fact, according to recent reports, Erdogan has even gone to the level ... Read More »

Rumours grow of rift between Saudi king and crown prince

There are growing signs of a potentially destabilising rift between the king of Saudi Arabia and his heir, the Guardian has been told. Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington and Nick Hopkins in London The Guardian King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are understood to have disagreed over a number of important policy issues in recent weeks, including the war in Yemen. The unease is said to have been building since the murder in Turkey of ... Read More »