Category Archives: Asia

‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals’ – The New York Times

I HAVE WORKED IN 60 COUNTRIES, covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and spent much of 2014 living inside West Africa’s Ebola zone, a place gripped by fear and death. What I experienced in the Philippines felt like a new level of ruthlessness: police officers’ summarily shooting anyone suspected of dealing or even using drugs, vigilantes’ taking seriously Mr. Duterte’s call to “slaughter them all.”

He said in October, “You can expect 20,000 or 30,000 more.”

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On Saturday, Mr. Duterte said that, in a telephone call the day before, President-elect Donald J. Trump had endorsed the brutal antidrug campaign and invited him to visit New York and Washington. “He said that, well, we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way,” Mr. Duterte said in a summary of the call released by his office.

‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals’ – The New York Times

A water war in Asia? | GulfNews.com

Asia has less fresh water per capita than any other continent, and it is already facing a water crisis that, according to an MIT study, will continue to intensify, with severe water shortages expected by 2050. At a time of widespread geopolitical discord, competition over freshwater resources could emerge as a serious threat to long-term peace and stability in Asia.

Already, the battle is underway, with China as the main aggressor. Indeed, China’s territorial grab in the South China Sea has been accompanied by a quieter grab of resources in transnational river basins. Re-engineering cross-border riparian flows is integral to China’s strategy to assert greater control and influence over Asia.

A water war in Asia? | GulfNews.com

Japanese Intelligence Tells Pentagon China Engaged in Multi-Year Takeover Attempt of Senkaku Islands – Washington Free Beacon

China is escalating a campaign of military maritime coercion against Japan’s Senkaku Islands, according to Japanese intelligence data disclosed as part of a joint Pentagon-Japan research program.

Additionally, China is doubling the size of its coast guard forces over the next five years to prevent the disruption of oil supplies that travel from the Middle East through the Indian Ocean and South China Sea, according to Pentagon-sponsored reports about the joint U.S.-Japan collaboration. Two reports produced by a contractor for the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, a secretive research group, provide a rare glimpse of Japanese intelligence assessments of Chinese military activities in the East China Sea and South China Sea.

Japanese Intelligence Tells Pentagon China Engaged in Multi-Year Takeover Attempt of Senkaku Islands – Washington Free Beacon

Vietnam Challenges China with Bigger Military Facilities in South China Sea – Breitbart

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published satellite images last week of Spratly Island, the flagship island in the chain, that appear to indicate Vietnam is modifying its assets there to allow easier access for some new defense aircraft.

“Vietnam has lengthened the runway at Spratly Island from less than 2,500 feet (the shortest of any claimants’ in the Spratlys) to about 3,300 feet,” CSIS noted. “These new facilities can easily accommodate the Vietnamese air force’s PZL M28B maritime surveillance aircraft and CASA C-295 transport planes.” Expanding these runways requires the dredging of land to make the island larger, a process similar to what China has done in disputed shoals to convert reefs into complete islands.

Vietnam Challenges China with Bigger Military Facilities in South China Sea – Breitbart

Learn from history to scatter Asia’s gathering clouds of war, – The Straits Times

I quoted an Argentine friend who, at a conference a few years back that was entitled “Post-Cold-War something or other”, had said that in fact we are not living in a “post-war” ethos, but more pre-war. The signs are there: populism, nationalism, territorial disputes, ethnic and religious conflicts, terrorism, economic depression, high youth unemployment, corruption, pretty lamentable political leadership everywhere… Need one go on?

Whereas prospects in most corners of the planet are cause for great concern – there was a consensus that the European Union will, in most likelihood, unravel – the greatest peril emanates from Asia. This is the case for many reasons, beginning with the fact that it is the world’s most important region – most populated, biggest economy, most fraught with pervasive territorial disputes, concentration of nuclear power states, etc.

I refer back to my Argentine friend: We are living in a pre-war and not a post-war ethos. We are witnessing the decline of some empires (notably the US), the collapse of others (the Arab world), and the rise of China, which I have described as a fragile global power. This pattern corresponds in some ways to that of a century ago: rising, declining and collapsing empires.

Learn from history to scatter Asia’s gathering clouds of war,  – The Straits Times

Majority of Chinese Worry Territorial Disputes Could Bring Military Conflict

A new survey shows a majority of people in China are concerned that territorial disputes with neighboring countries could lead to a military conflict.

The Pew Research findings released Wednesday came from a selection of questions asked to more than 3,000 Chinese people earlier this year.

China has been locked in a long-running dispute with countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia over territorial claims in the South China Sea. The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against China’s claim to nearly all of the area in July.

The Pew survey showed 59 percent of people had some concern about the disputes resulting in conflict.

Majority of Chinese Worry Territorial Disputes Could Bring Military Conflict

Beijing Talks Tough About “New Cold War” in Asia – Jamestown

According to the party mouthpiece Global Times, “Northeast Asia is under imminent threat of a New Cold War,” with the U.S. and its Japanese and South Korean allies pitted against China, Russia and the DPRK. Seeing a zero-sum type of ferocious contention in the volatile region, the official Beijing Youth Daily warned in a mid-August commentary that “we must beware of a New Cold War” that could plunge the region into chaos (Global Times, August 13; Beijing Youth Daily, August 13).

The siege mentality in which Beijing finds itself is a result of adverse developments within its sphere of influence. On July 12 a ruling by the Final Court of Arbitration (CFA) in the Hague rendered China’s territorial claims to the bulk of the South China Sea illegitimate. Additionally, plans were announced by countries including Australia, France and Japan to patrol the South China Sea so as to demonstrate freedom of navigation. Several claimants to South China Sea islets have pledged closer military cooperation such as Vietnam and the Philippines on the one hand, and the U.S., Japan, India and Australia on the other. On the Korean Peninsula, the deployment of America’s Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) missile-defense system on South Korean soil is viewed as offsetting China’s strategic missile deterrent. To the south and west India has deployed sophisticated BrahMos cruise missiles in areas of Arunachal Pradesh that are close to disputed borders with China (China Brief, September 13; Times of India, August 25; Straits Times, August 22; Xinhua, July 12).

Beijing Talks Tough About “New Cold War” in Asia – Jamestown

Philippines secret death squads: officer claims police teams behind wave of killings | World news | The Guardian

“We are not that bad policemen or bad individuals. We are just a tool, we are just angels that God gave talent to, you know, to get these bad souls back to heaven and cleanse them.”

The words flow unnervingly from the mouth of the policeman, a senior officer in the Philippines national police (PNP), as he explains his role in 87 killings in the past three months.

It’s not about killing for pleasure, or being a “homicidal maniac”, he says. There is a higher purpose at play.

“We are here as angels. Like St Michael and St Gabriel, right,” he says.

Philippines secret death squads: officer claims police teams behind wave of killings | World news | The Guardian

North and South Korea openly trade threats of pre-emptive strikes

Since North Korea’s latest nuclear test, Pyongyang and Seoul have been openly trading threats of decapitation strikes and annihilating capitals populated by millions of civilians. And the talk of how each side might throw that first pre-emptive punch has become more detailed than ever.

Seoul and Pyongyang are making a point of claiming they are justified, and capable, of striking hard if an attack by the other appears imminent: North Korea with its rapidly developing nuclear arsenal, Seoul with conventional missile attacks and commando operations explicitly aimed at killing Kim Jong Un and his top commanders.

North and South Korea openly trade threats of pre-emptive strikes

‘Misunderstanding’ may lead to conflict between US and China over South China Sea, expert warns – ABC News

One of the United States’ most senior ex-military officers has warned that China and the US risk open conflict over the South China Sea because of basic misunderstandings between the two nations.

The former head of National Intelligence and US Pacific Command, retired Admiral Dennis Blair, told Four Corners he does not believe either America or China want to go to war to end the stand-off.

But both sides are locked into opposing positions that make it almost impossible to reach a compromise, he said.

‘Misunderstanding’ may lead to conflict between US and China over South China Sea, expert warns – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)