PHNOM PENH (REUTERS) - The US Defence Department has asked Cambodia to explain why it suddenly turned down an offer to repair a naval base, saying the decision had raised speculation of possible plans for hosting China's military. A letter to the Cambodian defence minister, seen by Reuters, reflects concern in Washington about the Chinese military presence in South-east Asia, where China is increasingly assertive over its contested claims in the South China Sea. The letter from Joseph Felter, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and South-east Asia, asked for more information on the decision to decline help to repair a training facility and boat depot at Ream Naval Base. "The notification letter of 6 June 2019 has been seen throughout the US government and is fuelling speculation that this sudden change of policy could indicate larger plans for changes at Ream Naval Base, particularly ones that involve hosting Chinese military assets," said the letter. It gave no details … [Read more...] about US presses Cambodia over possible Chinese military presence
HONG KONG: The Chinese military will be handed prime Hong Kong waterfront land on Saturday (Jun 29), even as the city is rocked by anti-Beijing protests and just days before the anniversary of its return to China.Huge rallies have shaken the semi-autonomous territory this month, with demonstrators calling for the withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.More pro-democracy protests are expected in the coming days, as residents mark the anniversary of Hong Kong's 1997 handover to Beijing's rule.On Saturday, China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) will automatically be granted control of the Victoria Harbour pier under a 1994 British and Chinese agreement.The move will mean PLA ships could berth in the harbour, whose backdrop is the city's famous skyline.The PLA already has a garrison in Hong Kong, but its troops generally keep a low profile and are rarely seen in uniform in public.A debate over the controversial transfer deal was blocked by a pro-Beijing … [Read more...] about Chinese military to get dock in Hong Kong, despite tensions
BEIJING: Huawei employees have teamed up with Chinese military scientists to carry out research, a collaboration that challenges the telecom giant's assertion that it has no ties to the country's government or armed forces.Founded by former People's Liberation Army (PLA) engineer Ren Zhengfei, Washington suspects Huawei has deep ties to China's military and thus poses a security threat.US President Donald Trump placed Huawei last month on a blacklist prohibiting US firms from selling components to the company, raising tensions in the US-China trade war. A 90-day reprieve was granted.Several research papers published since 2009 show Huawei employees have worked with researchers at different arms of the People's Liberation Army, according to an AFP review of academic papers. Bloomberg News first reported on the collaborations.Military and private sector collaboration is common in many countries but Huawei has gone to great lengths to deny any close relationship with the Chinese … [Read more...] about Huawei staff pair up with Chinese military on research
Supreme Court Justice Antonio T. Carpio believes that it was not a collision of fishing vessels that happened on June 9 in Reed Bank (Philippine name: Recto Bank; Chinese name: Liyue Tan), 80 nautical miles off Palawan and within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone. It was a Chinese militia ship ramming a Philippine fishing vessel. “China’s maritime militia vessels have reinforced steel hulls purposely for ramming fishing vessels of other coastal states. No other coastal state has fishing vessels purposely designed for ramming other fishing vessels. Captains of ordinary Chinese fishing vessels do not engage in ramming for fear of inflicting damage to their own vessels. It is thus highly likely that a Chinese maritime militia vessel rammed the Filipino fishing vessel F/B Gimver 1,” Carpio said in a statement. The statement from Chinese Embassy in Manila insisted that it was "a Chinese fishing boat from Guangdong Province, China” and identified it as … [Read more...] about OPINION: Why is there a Chinese military vessel in Reed Bank?
Thailand’s foreign policy was hardly mentioned during campaigning for the March 24 election. That omission was unfortunate given that whoever comes to power in Bangkok will have to contend with the rise of China. It would have been nice to get some idea of where the next government will position Thailand amid China’s growing presence in the region and the wider world. Our pressing foreign policy issues are no longer traditional security threats but instead mega-infrastructure investments such as China’s Belt and Road initiative, and doctrine to defend free trade like Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy. Yet looming behind those issues is a broader threat to the stability and security of our region. That threat is crystallised in a question posed by the Nikkei Asian Review yesterday: “A Chinese military base in Southeast Asia? Some say it’s inevitable,” reads the headline. The article notes that China has provoked international … [Read more...] about Are we prepared for a Chinese military ‘invasion’?