The Lowy Interpreter

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Brexit Scenarios for the UK's Fisheries

By The Lowy Interpreter 2019-03-13 18:09:12

[By Martin Gellerman] Despite accounting for a mere 0.12% the UK’s overall economic output, fishing is one of the most contentious issues in the Brexit jumble. Highly politicised, negotiations on the future fisheries regime could tarnish the overall outcome of British departure from the EU. Issues of British identity have made fisheries an incredibly difficult point of negotiation between Britain and the European Union. At the heart of the dispute is the EU’s “Common Fisheries Policy” (CFP). Originally devised in 1970, the policy...

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Spats in the Straits Between Mayalsia and Singapore

By The Lowy Interpreter 2019-02-15 09:40:36

[By Dr. Bec Strating] While the South China Sea is a high-profile example of complex maritime and territorial disputes in the Indo-Pacific, there are other disputes that get less attention, yet also potentially undermine, the UNCLOS-based efforts to maintain maritime order.  One such dispute exists between Singapore and Malaysia, which (re)emerged unexpectedly in October last year. This dispute concerns the maritime area in the Johor Strait, which is off the coast of Singapore’s reclaimed land area known as Tuas. On October 25,...

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Malaysia Rethinks $20B "Belt and Road" Project

By The Lowy Interpreter 2019-01-31 18:03:56

[By Ben Bland] Breaking up is hard to do, judging by the Malaysian government’s latest contortions over how to handle a $20 billion Chinese-backed rail project of questionable economic value. The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is one of several high-profile Chinese infrastructure deals signed by previous prime minister Najib Razak, who is separately being prosecuted for corruption and money laundering for his role in the 1MDB graft scandal. (He denies any wrongdoing.) Pushing back too hard against Xi’s signature...

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The Dark Harvest of Chinese "Black Ships"

By The Lowy Interpreter 2019-01-25 16:08:37

[By Zhang Hongzhou] A US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies report (Illuminating the South China Sea’s Dark Fishing Fleets) sheds new light on the size and behaviour of fishing fleets in the Spratly Islands. The report reveals the presence of a large “dark fishing fleet” in the South China Sea and concludes that “most of these vessels serve, at least part-time, in China’s maritime militia.” But it overemphasises maritime militias, reinforces the popular narrative that China is militarising its fishermen, and overlooks...

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Security Forces May Accompany China's Belt and Road Abroad

By The Lowy Interpreter 2018-11-30 08:42:29

[By David Brewster] Last week’s attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi by Baluchi separatists underlines China’s growing vulnerabilities in connection with its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). These are likely to get worse and may ultimately lead to China assuming a new and quite different security role in the region. On November 23, a group of Baluchi separatists attacked a Chinese consulate, resulting in an hour long-shoot out with Pakistani police and security guards that left seven people dead. This is...

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Naval Encounters the "New Norm" in the South China Sea

By The Lowy Interpreter 2018-11-09 13:05:14

The release of video footage from the bridge wing of USS Decatur which shows its recent close encounter with the Chinese destroyer Lanzhou in the South China Sea confirms the judgement that the PLA Navy ship did not act wisely in its approach to the US Navy unit in response to the latter’s freedom of navigation operation. Lanzhou came upon the American ship from astern, making it the “burdened” vessel under the International Regulations for the Prevention of Collision at Sea (COLREGS), passed up Decatur’s port side and moved...

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Slavery Still Persists in Thai Fisheries

By The Lowy Interpreter 2018-11-02 09:15:55

[By JJ Rose] About an hour south of Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, down a dusty, broken-edged road, dotted with grimy stores and street stalls, with the incessant buzz of motorbikes, stands a desolate building complex. Turn right at the festering drain, past the guard dozing in his chair, and the dog licking itself on the pavement, if you look hard, you’ll see an office. A swarm of children race by. The disruption hardly ruffles a group of perhaps 10 young people sitting at a...

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Belt and Road: China's Biggest Brand

By The Lowy Interpreter 2018-08-31 13:53:48

[By Merriden Verrall] Most public discussion of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) tends to paint it as a coherent strategy of the Chinese Communist Party. One school argues that this strategy is largely economic in focus, the other major approach focuses on the political drivers. What both need to consider is that either way, the BRI is actually just a brand. It’s a marketing tool, a label applied with a sweeping generosity to a huge range of projects being...

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A Step Forward: The New Caspian Sea Convention

By The Lowy Interpreter 2018-08-17 15:22:07

[By Dr. Stephen Blank]  Demarcation of the Caspian Sea has been one of the longest lasting casualties of the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Soviet collapse invalidated the 1940 Irano-Soviet treaty that had demarcated the rights of both countries regarding the Caspian Sea. Thus, after 1991, five territories became littoral states of the Caspian Sea, necessitating clarification of its legal status so that they could exploit and demarcate it among themselves. The fact that this agreement...

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Yemen and the Drone Innovation

By The Lowy Interpreter 2018-08-10 16:35:17

[By Rodger Shanahan] As Yemen’s deadly conflict grinds on, exactly how much assistance the Iranians are providing the Houthis is open to conjecture. The Saudi-led coalition is keen to portray the Houthis as agents, rather than allies, of Iran. And while there is certainly strong evidence of technology and weapons transfer – either by land through Oman, or via the Red Sea – the Yemenis have also demonstrated their ability to improvise when necessary. Their reported conversion of anti-ship missiles from a ship- to...

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