South China Sea

Hey Helen, how’s that “benign strategic environment” looking now?

Remember this?

Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday dismissed former United States Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun as a pecan farmer from Alabama.

The terse remark was reminiscent of the sneering reference in 1977 by former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, who described US President Jimmy Carter as just a peanut farmer from Georgia.

And it was a far cry from the fond farewell between the women at a farewell party for the ex-ambassador this year.

Jimmy Carter’s apparent crime was that he was a Democrat.

Carol Moseley Braun’s was that she has been challenging Helen Clark’s assessment that New Zealand exists in a “benign strategic environment”.

That was the line the PM used to justify scrapping the combat wing of the Air Force – in May this year.

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China: Mind your own bloody business Brownlee

Gerry Brownlee and his custom tailored ballistic vest that cost three times the standard vest worn by Kiwi troops

China rebuked New Zealand’s Defence Minister at the opening of a high-profile security forum in Beijing on Tuesday, criticizing his stance on tension in the disputed South China Sea, saying countries “not involved” should not interfere.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion worth of trade passes each year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims.

An international tribunal in Hague ruled in July that China had no historic title over the waters and had breached the Philippines’ sovereign rights there. That decision infuriated Beijing, which dismissed the court’s authority. Read more »

Is China the new bully in town?

by Barry

China seems to think it can do what it likes in the South China Sea with impunity. The land grab by China of an area claimed by other nations has been rejected by the maritime affairs tribunal. China has stated that it doesn?t recognise the tribunal and is not bound by its decisions. They hope to create more economic territory for themselves by building facts on the ground.

?A UN-backed international tribunal has ruled that China has no “historic title” over waters or resources in the South China Sea.

A five-member tribunal of maritime affairs experts in The Hague issued its ruling, after a bitter dispute between Beijing and the Philippines continued, in a closely-watched case that risks ratcheting up tensions in Southeast Asia.

The tribunal set up by the Permanent Court of Arbitration is allowed to arbitrate on matters of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

It has the power to make a decision that cannot be appealed.

However, the tribunal and the PCA have no means to enforce the verdict, with compliance left to the parties concerned.

Manila and its allies – including the United States – say China will nevertheless be bound by the ruling.

But Beijing has said from the start that the tribunal is invalid and has boycotted its proceedings.? Read more »

Betting against China

George Soros has made a massive call…he is betting against China.

George Soros probably shouldn’t expect any warm invitations to Beijing – not with the much-reviled short seller warning of a giant Chinese crash.

The billionaire first shook a major government in September 1992, when he led an attack on the British pound. For his role in humiliating London and forcing John Major’s government to exit the European exchange-rate mechanism – essentially the euro – Soros reportedly netted $US2 billion.

Soros made a bundle off America’s subprime debt crisis as well. Here in Asia, his legend has loomed large since 1997, when then-Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad accused him, bizarrely, of heading a Jewish conspiracy to spark an Asian crisis.

Now Soros has his eye on China. In a January 2 op-ed for Project Syndicate, Soros didn’t say whether he’s shorting China. But he did connect the dots in a way that can’t make President Xi Jinping happy. To Soros, the main risk facing the world isn’t the euro, the US Congress or a Japanese asset bubble, but a Chinese debt disaster that’s unfolding in plain sight.

China amping pressure in South China Sea

China is continuing to flex its muscles in the South China Sea, a situation which could escalate if they carry on.

China imposes fishing curbs: New regulations imposed Jan. 1 limit all foreign vessels from fishing in a zone covering two-thirds of the South China Sea.

China imposes fishing curbs: New regulations imposed Jan. 1 limit all foreign vessels from fishing in a zone covering two-thirds of the South China Sea.

China has ordered foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval from regional authorities before fishing or surveying in two thirds of the South China Sea, setting up the potential for new confrontations between Beijing and its neighbors over maritime sovereignty claims to disputed islands.? Read more »