Along with the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf near Iran and Oman, the Strait of Malacca is the world’s most important shipping chokepoint. Linking the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean, the Malacca Strait is by far the shortest maritime route connecting Persian Gulf energy producers to their largest consumers in countries like China, Japan, and South Korea. 50,000 merchant ships carrying 40 percent of all world trade pass through the 900-km long (550 miles) strait each year. It’s particularly strategic for regional energy supplies.
Japan’s nuclear regulator says radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima power plant is probably leaking into the Pacific Ocean, a problem long suspected by experts but denied by the plant’s operator. Officials from the Nuclear Regulation Authority said a leak is “strongly suspected” and urged plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to determine where the water may be leaking from and assess the environmental and other risks, including the impact on the food chain. The watchdog said Wednesday it would form a panel of experts to look into ways to contain the problem.
Jiaolong, the manned deep-sea submersible, is helping China tap a treasure of iron-manganese deposits that were first discovered in the South China Sea on Wednesday. Tang Jialing, an oceanaut on the submersible, told Xinhua News Agency that although the exact area of the deposits was still unknown, he was sure that it was large. “Since one of the samples was broken by the sub’s robotic arm, a round core inside could be identified as volcanic lava. The materials covering the core are iron and manganese oxides, which need tens of thousands of years to form,” he said.
The Japanese Self Defense Forces (SDF) will be taking part in a California-based military training exercise led by the U.S., and including Canada and New Zealand, from June 10 until the 26. The Dawn Blitz 2013 will be the first year for Japan to participate, as well as see all the involved nations have their troops take part in amphibious assault training. “The exercise is aimed at improving the integrated operation capabilities of the SDF and maintaining and improving bilateral capabilities with the U.S. military,” said a public affairs official from the SDF Joint Staff Office.
A day after asking Japan to stop encroaching its territory, Chinese military on Wednesday for the first time deployed its naval ships to patrol the islands disputed with Tokyo in the East China Sea. This is the first time in recent months China deployed its naval vessels for patrols in the islands waters replacing the marine surveillance vessels, even though some naval ships were seen in the waters earlier. A two-vessel fleet of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy patrolled the territorial waters surrounding the Diaoyu islands this morning
For half a century, geopolitical theory was effectively banned. In the USSR, this branch of science was described as “bourgeois.” In the West, it was considered politically incorrect, and was largely the preserve of provincial professors with no hope of entering the establishment. The situation began to change with the advent of the new century, and now geopolitics is back in ordinary usage and quickly regaining its political correctness and legitimacy. There is no single definition of geopolitics. But in the most general terms, it can be described as the science of investigating the relationship between foreign policy, international relations, and geographical and natural surroundings.
Japan and the United States have discussed installing an X-band early-warning radar system in Kyoto Prefecture to counter North Korea’s missile threat, informed sources have said.
The Air Self-Defense Force’s Kyogamisaki base in Kyotango has been selected as a candidate site for the deployment of the second X-band missile defense radar system in Japan, according to the sources. The first X-band system was installed at the ASDF’s Shariki base in Tsu-garu, Aomori Prefecture.
China announced today that a multi-million dollar deep-sea base will be built off its eastern coast in 2013. The project, worth an estimated 495 million yuan (about $80 million), is said to be for the purpose of mining for rare metals and natural gas deposits in the ocean bed.
What officials did not mention is that the base is just miles from the headquarters of China’s North Sea Fleet, in the coastal city of Qingdao (aka Tsingtao, where the beer gets its name). Qingdao lets out into the Yellow Sea, an area that includes North and South Korea and Japan and poses what some analysts say is one of the world’s worst security dilemmas.
Rosneft reported one of the largest rises in crude output among the Russian oil majors last year. More crude from state-owned top producer Rosneft kept Russian oil output the highest in the world last year, ahead of Saudi Arabia, Energy Ministry data showed on Wednesday.
Crude output edged up almost 1% to a new post-Soviet high of 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd), but the increase could halt this year due to depleted oil fields in West Siberia. Russia’s oil output, the world’s largest, edged up almost 1% in 2012 to a new post-Soviet average yearly high of 10.37 million barrels per day (bpd).
Seeking a “long-term security relationship” with India, a top US military commander has said his country will support New Delhi’s “leadership role” in the Indian Ocean and South Asia.
The US Pacific Command (PACOM) “will increase its efforts to nurture the strategic partnership and expand engagement with India as well as support her leadership role in the Indian Ocean and South Asia,” PACOM Commander, Admiral Sameul J Locklear III, said in an address to the Asia Society here.
China has a more critical but less-articulated goal of controlling the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands, which if achieved, could tip strategic military superiority from the United States to China in the Pacific, according to an analyst.
Sumihiko Kawamura, a former rear admiral and commander of the Maritime Self-Defense Force’s antisubmarine air wing, said that Beijing is trying to turn the South China Sea into ‘a safe haven’ for its nuclear-powered submarines, which are armed with ballistic missiles that can reach the United States.
Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith says the critical and growing strategic importance of the Indian Ocean continues to be under-appreciated. Smith noted in a speech to the Lowy Institute in Sydney that the Indo-Pacific will be home to three of the world’s superpowers – the United States, China and India – and is now home to four of the world’s largest militaries – the US, Russia, China and North Korea.
“The proportion of world energy supplies passing through critical transport choke points, including the Straits of Malacca, the Straits of Hormuz and the Suez Canal will only increase in coming years. Crucial trading routes, the presence of large and growing naval capabilities, as well as transnational security issues such as piracy, will drive Australia to ultimately put the Indian Ocean alongside the Pacific Ocean at the heart of our maritime strategic and defence planning,” the minister said.
India will on Tuesday formally open a key naval station, aptly named INS Baaz (Hawk), in the southern part of Andaman and Nicobar Islands that will boost its ability to keep an eagle eye on the critical maritime choke-point: the Strait of Malacca.
With navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma declaring the base open, the nation’s southeastern-most fringe, which is closer to Indonesia than the Indian mainland, India will gain strategic supremacy in the area, an Indian Navy officer said in New Delhi.
Japan says more Chinese naval ships have been seen near Okinawa, with some staging drills involving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) able to carry missiles and conduct surveillance that analysts say is crucial for China to expand its maritime power.
The Joint Staff Office of the Japanese Defence Ministry said the country’s maritime defence force on Monday morning spotted three Chinese ships – two Type 054A multi-role warships and one Dongdiao 232 electronic surveillance ship – going through the Okinawa Miyako Strait on their way to the East China Sea.
China’s growing capabilities in space could undercut any U.S. military response if Beijing resorted to force to bring self-ruled Taiwan into its fold, a study released Friday by a congressionally mandated U.S. commission said.
China’s military is rapidly boosting its space programs to advance Communist Party interests “and defend against perceived challenges to sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said the 84-page report by the Project 2049 Institute, a research group on Asia-Pacific security issues.
China has claimed Taiwan as its own since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 and has vowed to bring the island under mainland rule, by force if necessary.