Taiwan Doubles Down On U.S. LNG

LNG vessel

LNG Vessel. Source: OilPrice

 

Taiwan, which has seen increased military exercises off its coast by Chinese forces this year, has just inked a major energy deal with a U.S. energy firm.

On Monday, Taiwan’s CPC Corp., a major LNG importer, announced a preliminary deal to buy liquefied natural gas (LNG) from U.S. based LNG producer Cheniere Energy for a period of 25 years. CPC signed a Heads of Agreement to purchase 2 million tonnes of LNG annually from the major gas exporter, which is gearing up to start exports from its second export plant at Corpus Christi, Texas. Continue reading

Struggle for Influence in the Western Pacific (I)

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – The US-led RIMPAC 2018, the world’s largest naval maneuver, began yesterday with German soldiers participating. According to the US Navy, the naval exercise will also include operations in the Western Pacific. The region of the Southwest Pacific islands will thus come into focus, which – even though largely ignored by the European public – has been gaining significant global influence. On the one hand, the influence of Western countries has shrunk recently, while that of their strategic rivals, such as Russia and China, has significantly grown. Some Pacific island nations have since then been seeking to pursue a foreign policy independent from the West. On the other hand, the Southwest Pacific has become even more important also for Australia and the Unites States: as the political economic backyard for Australia and “gateway to the Indo-Pacific” for the U.S.A. Germany is also attempting to increase its activities in the region.

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China and India Establish “Oil Buyers’ Club” to Counter OPEC

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On June 11, major Chinese and Indian oil companies started a formal meeting in Beijing, discussing the establishment of an “oil buyers’ club” to negotiate better prices with OPEC countries. The chairman of China’s biggest energy company China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Wang Yilin, and the chairman of refiner Indian Oil Corporation both attended the meeting. According to the India Times, the two largest energy consumers together accounted for almost 17% of world oil consumption last year. Should this “oil buyers’ club” become a reality, New Delhi, and Beijing will have greater leverage to negotiate with OPEC about oil prices and will also have a significant say in matters such as importing more crude oil from the US. Continue reading

The World Transformed and No One in America Noticed

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The world transformed and nobody in the West noticed. India and Pakistan have joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The 17 year-old body since its founding on June 15, 2001 has quietly established itself as the main alliance and grouping of nations across Eurasia. Now it has expanded from six nations to eight, and the two new members are the giant nuclear-armed regional powers of South Asia, India, with a population of 1.324 billion and Pakistan, with 193.2 million people (both in 2016).

In other words, the combined population of the SCO powers or already well over 1.5 billion has virtually doubled at a single stroke. Continue reading

Russia And India Ditch Dollar In Military Deals

With the US increasingly willing to use the dollar, and SWIFT, as a strategic weapon against the country’s sovereign enemies (as Iran learned every 5 or so years), Russia and India are preparing to bypass US sanctions on Moscow by using the rupee and the ruble in bilateral trade involving military deals, the Economic Times reported.

Some $2 billion in weapons deals between India and Russia have been hit as a result of the recent US sanctions, as payments get stuck. The countries are seeking to bypass such monetary bottlenecks this by switching to settlements in domestic currencies and ditching the greenback. Continue reading

As the G-7 Implodes, SCO Meeting Confirms the New Century of Multipolarity

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The historical changes we are witnessing have never been so evident as in the last few days. The G7 summit highlighted the limits of the Atlantic alliance, while the SCO meeting opens up unprecedented possibilities for Eurasian integration.

At the G7 meeting in Canada in recent days, we witnessed unprecedented clashes between Trump and G7 leaders over the imposition of tariffs on trade. We must now conclude that the event has been relegated to irrelevance, as the G7 has heretofore derived its clout from speaking as one voice. Trump even went further, refusing to sign the final draft of the organization’s joint statement after Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau lashed out at Trump’s trade decisions. Trump showed how little he cares for his allies, leaving the summit a day early to arrive early for the meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore to make preparations for the long-awaited encounter between the two leaders. Continue reading

As G7 feuds, Xi and Putin play up their own club

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The leaders of China and Russia Sunday praised the expansion of their regional security bloc at a summit which put on a show of unity in stark contrast to the acrimonious G7 meeting.

President Xi Jinping gave the leaders of Pakistan and India a “special welcome” to their first summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, since their countries joined the group last year. Continue reading

Mattis Announces Name Change for U.S. Pacific Command

Adm. Harry Harris, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and CNO Adm. John Richardson (L-R) attend a change of command ceremony / Getty Images

 

Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced Wednesday that the Pentagon was renaming U.S. Pacific Command to Indo-Pacific Command in order to better reflect regional priorities.

Mattis made the announcement at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam on Wednesday during a change-of-command ceremony for the U.S. military’s oldest and largest geographic unified combatant command. Continue reading

On Point: China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Camouflaged in Silk

Think of it as a revived Silk Road, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in 2013 when he announced China would proudly sponsor a multi-decade international commercial and infrastructure development project — notionally running from China through Central Asia and connecting to points beyond. Yes, a benign Silk Road where all prosper. The project would have a maritime development component as well.

India, however, was immediately suspicious. China and India are rival powers, militarily and economically. They have unresolved territorial disputes in the Himalayas that occasionally involve gunfire between their armies. Continue reading

OPEC Has Regained Its Grip On Oil Markets

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Higher oil prices seem to have given OPEC the confidence that it needs to begin thinking about moving forward, and with Russia in the mix as well, it appears as though the alliance will be a force to be reckoned with.

– Gasoline prices averaged $2.92 per gallon for the week ending on May 21, and have surpassed $3 per gallon in regional markets.

– The prices are the highest for the Memorial Day weekend in four years.

– However, prices are likely to fall back soon with crude oil prices plunging over the past week. Continue reading

China’s naval build-up is a threat to regional peace

China’s first home-built aircraft carrier has recently undergone sea trials and is expected to enter service as early as next year. The Asian power already has one carrier in active service, the Liaoning, a refurbished Cold War-era vessel bought from Ukraine and commissioned in 2012.

In an editorial on May 13 — the day the as-yet-unnamed 50,000-ton Type 001A vessel and the country’s first “combat” aircraft carrier headed out for its first sea trial — the Global Times said “China is gradually stepping into an era of dual aircraft carriers” and its “second aircraft carrier highlights the country’s major progress.”

But, the paper, an influential offspring of the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, stated that “as a major power, China should have multiple aircraft carriers.”

The view that the rising superpower needs to build more aircraft carriers — at least six such vessels, with at least four of them being nuclear-powered — in the future is widely maintained by other Chinese state media outlets and analysts. Continue reading

China ‘Dream’ Is Global Hegemony

China's President Xi Jinping

China’s President Xi Jinping / Getty Images

 

U.S. urged to counter Beijing’s military, economic expansion

China’s large-scale military buildup, regional coercion, and economic aggression are part of plan for global domination, experts told Congress on Thursday.

The nuclear and conventional weapons buildup, militarization of islets in the South China Sea and global infrastructure investments aimed at controlling nations are signs Beijing has emerged as America’s most significant national security challenge, a panel of specialists told a hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Continue reading

China Plans Network of Indian Ocean Bases: Security Analyst

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The Maldives is moving closer to China and Beijing may be interested in taking over the old British air base on Gan in the south of that archipelago

China has plans to establish a network of naval and air bases in the Indian Ocean, according to an article by David Brewster posted on the website of the Lowy Institute, the Australian think-tank, on May 15.

Brewster, who is with the National Security College at the Australian National University in Canberra, argues that Beijing’s aim is to support China’s growing strategic imperatives in the region. Continue reading

EU Could Switch To Euros In Oil Trade With Iran

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The European Union (EU) is considering switching to euros instead of U.S. dollars in the oil trade with Iran, Sputnik reported on Wednesday, quoting a diplomatic source.

Iran, for its part, said as early as in mid-April that it would be switching to euros from U.S. dollars in reporting foreign currency amounts, to reduce the reliance on the dollar as it was expected that President Trump would not waive the sanctions this time around.

The EU vowed on Tuesday to seek ways to work and trade with Iran. Continue reading

China Rapidly Building Advanced Arms for Use Against U.S.

China Holds Military Parade To Commemorate End Of World War II In Asia

China Holds Military Parade To Commemorate End Of World War II In Asia (Getty Images)

 

Space weapons, drones using artificial intelligence priority in Beijing military buildup

China is rapidly building space weapons and other advanced arms infused with artificial intelligence capabilities as part of Beijing’s bid for military dominance, according to a congressionally sponsored study.

Anti-satellite missiles and orbiting killer satellites, swarms of attack drones, hypersonic missiles, maneuvering warheads, lasers, and high-speed rail guns are key systems China is fielding in the coming years in a bid to leap ahead of the U.S. military supremacy. Continue reading