Thailand Delays Controversial Chinese Sub Purchase

Thailand delaysFaced with a rising tide of public discontent, Thailand’s government has officially postponed the purchase of two submarines from China, withdrawing its request to parliament to include the sum for an initial payment in next year’s national budget.

The Chinese submarine procurement deal was announced in June 2015, a year after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, then the army chief, seized power in a coup d’état. The coup led to souring relations with the United States. In 2017, Thailand’s cabinet approved the purchase of the first submarine for 13.5 billion baht ($434.1 million), with delivery expected in 2023.

But the purchase of the remaining two diesel-powered Yuan-class S26T submarines, which will cost Bangkok an additional 22.5 billion baht ($720 million) over seven years, has attracted heated controversy.

How the US can win back Southeast Asia

How the US can win back Southeast AsiaIn a scene unimaginable to Americans 50 and perhaps even 30 years ago, on March 4 the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier docked at Da Nang, Vietnam – where the first American troops arrived in 1965 – to commemorate 25 years of U.S.-Vietnam relations. The Roosevelt is the second U.S. aircraft carrier to dock in Vietnam since the war; the first, the USS Carl Vinson, did so in 2018.

Vietnam is usually wary of antagonizing China with such U.S. cooperation, but the Hanoi leadership seemingly decided it necessary to bring the Americans ashore at this moment, given China’s unrelenting militarization of the South China Sea.

Taiwan’s Tsai softens tone after China missile drill

Taiwans Tsai softens tone after China missile drillTaiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has made her first open appeal to Chinese leader Xi Jinping for “restraint and responsibility” as the Chinese military flexes its muscles in multiple war-games across the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea and East and South China Seas.

Tsai made subtle overtures to the mainland while speaking out against perceived as renewed coercion of the self-governed island in a recorded address at a webinar on Thursday hosted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a Canberra-based think tank.

“The risks of conflict require careful management by all the parties concerned. We expect and hope that Beijing will continue to exercise restraint, consistent with their obligations as a major regional power,” Tsai said.

US sanctions fail to forge anti-China consensus

US sanctions fail to forge antiChina consensusMANILA – America’s move to punish Chinese entities and individuals reputedly responsible for militarizing the South China Sea has sparked divisions among rival regional claimants that may ultimately blunt the targeted sanctions’ impact.

Last week, the US Commerce Department placed 24 state-owned Chinese enterprises under sanctions, including China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, which posted over US$10 billion in revenues last year.

The US State Department, meanwhile, announced targeted sanctions including travel bans against specific Chinese officials, business executives and potentially their family members for alleged involvement in arming up China’s reclaimed islands in the disputed waters.

South China Sea: Asean states set course for Beijing’s red line

South China Sea Asean states set course for Beijings red lineIt’s like a fuzzy red line that China imposes on its weaker neighbours involved in the South China Sea dispute: protest all you like about the militarisation and artificial island-building, just don’t mention the international court ruling that rejected Beijing’s far-reaching territorial claims.

Until recently, the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) appeared to abide by this unspoken rule from the behemoth next door.

Though the landmark award by the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in 2016 leaned in favour of the Southeast Asian claimants, statements from those countries’ leaders invoking the ruling against China have been few and far between.

U.S. Penalizes 24 Chinese Companies Over Role in South China Sea

US Penalizes 24 Chinese Companies Over Role in South China SeaWASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Wednesday added 24 Chinese companies to a government list that bans them from buying American products, citing their role in helping the Chinese military construct artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea.

The Trump administration has penalized dozens of Chinese companies in previous months by adding them to the so-called entity list over national security concerns related to advanced technology and alleged human rights violations against Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region. But this is the first time that the administration has used the entity list in relation to China’s encroachment in the South China Sea, which stretches south of Hong Kong and borders the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and other countries.

Strategic Lunacy Doesn’t Play in Reality

Strategic Lunacy Doesnt Play in RealityPresident Donald Trump with a bat, ready to take a swing at the world-turned-piñata. Sciutto’s previous work, The Shadow War, explored the threats Russia and China posed to the United States—now, he’s turned his attention around to consider America’s own contribution to global instability.

Well before he assumed office, Trump made clear he would operate differently and set out to break conventional wisdom when it came to foreign affairs. NATO was “obsolete,” until he decided after he entered office it was “no longer obsolete.” He toyed with bringing waterboarding back as a U.S. practice. And he questioned why he couldn’t speak by phone with the president of Taiwan. By the end of his first year, some policymakers attempted to make sense of his mercuriality by describing his approach as “madman theory.”

Why there won’t be a US-China war

Why there wont be a USChina warIn 1976, world heavyweight champion Mohammed Ali fought an exhibition bout in Tokyo with karate master Antonio Inoki. Inoki spent most of the match on his back kicking at Ali’s shins crab-fashion.

“Ali was only able to land two jabs while Inoki’s kicks caused two blood clots and an infection that almost resulted in Ali’s leg being amputated,” Wikipedia reports. “The match was not scripted and ultimately declared a draw.”

Archival footage can be viewed here showing Ali hoisting himself on the ropes to avoid Inoki’s crab kicks.

That’s why there won’t be a shooting war between the US and China. China has spent massively on anti-access/area denial weapons – A2/AD for short – that make war impractical.

U.S. Sanctions Chinese Firms and Executives Active in Contested South China Sea

US Sanctions Chinese Firms and Executives Active in Contested South China SeaThe U.S. unveiled a set of visa and export restrictions targeting Chinese state-owned companies and their executives involved in advancing Beijing’s territorial claims in the contested South China Sea, a new challenge to China involving the strategic waters.

Wednesday’s actions by the State and Commerce departments apply to a range of state-owned enterprises, including units of China Communications Construction Co., a leading contractor for Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative to develop infrastructure and trade links across Asia, Africa and beyond.

The U.S. added 24 Chinese companies active in the South China Sea—including five CCCC subsidiaries—to a Commerce Department list that restricts American companies from supplying U.S.-origin technology to them without a license. The State Department said it was rendering ineligible for U.S. visas a group of unspecified executives whom Washington alleges have been involved in malign activities in the South China Sea.

The South China Sea: Chairman's Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit adopts stronger position

The South China Sea Chairmans Statement of the 36th ASEAN Summit adopts stronger positionAmidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese Prime Minister and ASEAN leaders held the 36th ASEAN Summit online on June 26, 2020. In view of recent complicated developments in the South China Sea, the issue has become an important item discussed by ASEAN leaders and included in the Chairman's Statement expressing ASEAN leaders' concerns over China's activities taking advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to provoke aggression in the South China Sea.

Earlier, on June 24, at the 21st ASEAN Political-Security Community Online Meeting, the Ministers also identified that ASEAN continues to face many complex security challenges, including increasing tension in the South China Sea.

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