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Showing posts from September 30, 2018

American Warship Sails Near Disputed Islands, Challenging China

USS Decatur conducts 10-hour patrol in the South China Sea, sailing within 12 nautical miles of Chinese-held outposts in Spratly island chainThe USS Decatur operates in the South China Sea in October 2016. PHOTO: PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS DIANA QUINLAN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES72 COMMENTSBy Gordon Lubold in Washington and Jeremy Page in BeijingUpdated Sept. 30, 2018 3:49 a.m. ETA U.S. Navy warship patrolled near at least two Chinese-held outposts in the disputed Spratly island chain in the South China Sea on Sunday, challenging Beijing’s maritime claims amid growing tensions between the two countries.The guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur navigated past Gaven and Johnson reefs over the course of a 10-hour patrol in the South China Sea, sailing within 12 nautical miles of both features in what amounts to a freedom of navigation operation, or FONOP.The two outposts are among seven where China has built heavily fortified artificial islands since 2013, raising fears among its Asi…

Fearing debt trap, Pakistan rethinks China's Belt and Road projects

The cooling of enthusiasm for China's investments mirrors the unease of incoming governments in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Maldives, with administrations wary of Chinese deals struck by their predecessors.PHOTO: REUTERSPUBLISHED2 HOURS AGOISLAMABAD (REUTERS) - After lengthy delays, a US$8.2 billion (S$11.2 billion) revamp of a colonial-era rail line snaking from the Arabian Sea to the foothills of the Hindu Kush has become a test of Pakistan's ability to rethink signature Chinese "Silk Road" projects due to debt concerns.The rail mega project linking the coastal metropolis of Karachi to the north-western city of Peshawar is China's biggest Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project in Pakistan, but Islamabad has balked at the cost and financing terms.Resistance has stiffened under the new government of populist Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has voiced alarm about rising debt levels and says the country must wean itself off foreign loans."We are seeing how to devel…