CHINA & U.S. RISKS
China's land reclamation around reefs in the disputed South China Sea is undermining freedom and stability, and risks provoking tension that could even lead to conflict, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a conference in Jakarta.
China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea, which is believed to be rich in oil and gas, its claims overlapping with those of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Recent satellite images suggest China has made rapid progress in filling in land in contested territory in the Spratly islands and in building an airstrip suitable for military use and that it may be planning another.
"As China seeks to make sovereign land out of sandcastles and redraw maritime boundaries, it is eroding regional trust and undermining investor confidence," Blinken said.
"Its behavior threatens to set a new precedent whereby larger countries are free to intimidate smaller ones, and that provokes tensions, instability and can even lead to conflict."
The United States and China clashed over the dispute on Saturday, when visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged China to take action to reduce tension. China said its determination to protect its interests was "as hard as a rock".
"We need to manage competing claims diplomatically ... We don't take sides but we strongly oppose actions that aim to advance a claim by force or coercion," Blinken said.
"We will continue to encourage all claimants to resolve their differences in accordance with international norms."
The territorial dispute is seen by many as one of Asia's most dangerous hot spots, posing risks that it could result in conflict as countries stake their claims.
|March, 19, 08:19:00|
|March, 19, 08:15:00|
|March, 19, 08:10:00|
|March, 19, 08:05:00|
|March, 19, 08:00:00|
|March, 18, 11:45:00|
PENNENERGY - The Trump administration accused Russia on Thursday of a concerted, ongoing operation to hack and spy on the U.S. energy grid and other critical infrastructure, and separately imposed sanctions on Russian officials for alleged high-tech interference in the 2016 American presidential election.
IAEA - IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano commended efforts by Pakistan to increase nuclear safety and security as the country works to triple its nuclear power capacity. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi commended the IAEA for the support provided to Pakistan in the use of peaceful nuclear applications. Pakistan “was ready to further strengthen its partnership with the IAEA and contribute towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals worldwide,” the Prime Minister said.
PLATTS - "The increase in competition induced new practices in the market that resulted in imports returning to normal," Petrobras' Jorge Celestino said during a presentation of the company's 2017 financial results.
PLATTS - The objective of this program is to increase its domestic refinery utilization rates to 90% from current levels of 10-20%, Kragha said speaking to Platts in Cape Town on the sidelines of the African Refiner Association conference.