Tag Archives: Asia

Mark Collins – Big Dragon “Yikes!”–From 2010 to 2020 “China is set to nearly double its military spending…”

This should sure get the attention of PEOTUS Trump–the rest of the headline:

…as an arms race heats up in Asia.
China’s defense spending will balloon to $233 billion in 2020, up from $123 billion in 2010, according to a new report by IHS Jane’s.

Very relevant:

Can the US Cope With a Big War Against a Major Power? Part 2

USAF “Officers Give New Details for F-35 in War With China”

RAND on War Between the Dragon and the Eagle

US Navy: Carriers or Subs, with the Dragon in Mind

Rising Sun’s Yen for Defence Spending, Part 3

Take that Dragon! Indian PM Modi Embraces the Rising Sun (plus the Eagle and the Bear)

A real Asian military cockpit, what? Meanwhile quite a few Canadians want to embrace the Chicoms.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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Mark Collins – Trump vs Trade: CPP Instead of TPP?

That’s the China-Pacific Partnership–a NY Times story on important talks with little public profile:

China’s Influence Grows in Ashes of Trans-Pacific Trade Pact

A toxic political war over money, jobs and globalization killed the vast and complex trade deal that was supposed to be a signature legacy of President Obama. But the deal, between the United States and 11 Asian and Pacific nations, was never just about trade.

The agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was conceived as a vital move in the increasingly tense chess match between China and the United States for economic and military influence in the fastest-growing and most strategically uncertain part of the world. The deal, which excluded China, was intended to give those 11 nations more leverage in that strained match by providing them with a viable economic alternative. And its defeat is an unalloyed triumph for China, the country that President-elect Donald J. Trump castigated repeatedly over trade

Much of Asia has for decades quietly accepted American security guarantees while also running large trade surpluses with the United States, turning them into prosperous manufacturing powerhouses. But China is now the largest trading partner for most of the region, while at the same time making territorial claims against many of its neighbors [see e.g. the South China Sea].

The neighbors fear they could soon face a stark choice among money, pride and place: Accede to China’s security demands, or lose access to China’s vast market…

Just three days before Mr. Obama’s arrival here, Peru’s foreign minister, Eduardo Ferreyros, said the country still hoped the Pacific pact would someday become a reality. But given the changing dynamics, his government also opened talks this autumn with Beijing to join the rival, Chinese-led trade pact, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

“Since Mr. Trump is not so interested in requiring economic integration and trade liberalization, why not have other countries follow this free-trade proposal?” asked Song Guoyou, a longtime trade specialist who is the deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Since the election, Australia’s government has also called for rapid progress in concluding that rival trade pact. Even Japan, despite facing territorial demands from China and close, but peaceful, confrontations between the two countries’ military jets and coast guard vessels, is paying more attention to China’s vision for global trade [note also Japan’s military build-up].

Australia and Japan have been bargaining for years with China on the deal. But they wanted it as a complement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to balance their economic relationship with the United States instead of replacing it with ties to China.

“If T.P.P. doesn’t move forward, there’s no doubt that the focus will shift” to the China-led deal, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan told his country’s Parliament on Tuesday [Nov. 15, emphasis added] . Mr. Abe met with Mr. Trump on Thursday.

Since 2011, trade negotiators from China, Japan, Australia, India and 12 other Asian nations have been meeting several times a year to stitch together the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [more here]. And with Mr. Trump’s victory, those efforts are almost certain to accelerate. The next round of talks is to be held in Indonesia early next month [emphasis added].

Trade officials across Asia met to negotiate details in Cebu, the Philippines, the week before Mr. Trump won the election. Almost no one noticed outside of Cebu. The next meeting, scheduled for early December, could attract far more attention, including some at this weekend’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Lima…

Will Canada try to get involved or just negotiate bilaterally with the Dragon?

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Oh, that cuddly panda. But consider:

The Dragon and the Beaver: Ottawa in Cloud Cuckoo Land

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Take that Dragon! Indian PM Modi Embraces the Rising Sun (plus the Eagle and the Bear)

Another azimut in the making, with a nuclear angle:

Strong Japan-India ties can help stabilize the world, says Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday [Nov. 11] praised the “growing convergence” of views between his nation and Japan, saying strong ties will enable them to play a stabilizing role in Asia.

Modi is in Japan to sign a landmark nuclear energy pact and strengthen ties as China’s regional influence grows and Donald Trump’s election has thrown U.S. policies across Asia into doubt.

India, Japan and the United States have been building security ties by holding three-way naval exercises, but Trump’s “America First” campaign promise has stirred concern about a reduced U.S. engagement in the region – an approach that could draw Modi and Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe closer.

Modi told Japanese business leaders that the 21st century is Asia’s century, urging them to invest in India.

“The growing convergence of views between Japan and India and our special strategic and global partnership have the capacity to drive the regional economy and development, and stimulate global growth,” he said.
“Strong India and strong Japan will not only enrich our two nations, it will also be a stabilizing factor in Asia and the world.”

The nuclear agreement, which Modi and Abe are set to sign later in the day, follows a similar one with the United States in 2008 which gave India access to nuclear technology after decades of isolation, a step seen as the first big move to build India into a regional counterweight to China…

The two countries have also been trying to close a deal on the supply of amphibious rescue aircraft US-2 [website here, cool looking amphibian] to the Indian navy, which would be one of Japan’s first sales of military equipment since Abe lifted a 50-year ban on arms exports.

India’s Defence Acquisitions Council met earlier this week to consider the purchase of 12 of the planes made by ShinMaywa Industries, but failed to reach a decision.

Earlier on another major azimut (and of course there is still the Russian one; the Indians are playing their own long game, as the Americans need to grok):

Eagle’s India Full Court Press (unhappy Paks)

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – British Columbia/Alberta Hydrocarbon Heartbreak Update: Good News, Bad News

Further to these posts,

Shell, or, B.C. LNG Heartbreak, Cont’d–Plus Court “No” to Northern Gateway Oil

B.C. LNG Heartbreak Averted, for Now–Will Petronas et al. Go Ahead?

first the good news about a smallish project:

Woodfibre says it is going ahead with British Columbia’s first LNG project, creating hundreds of jobs

Woodfibre LNG [website here] says it is proceeding with its proposed liquefied natural gas development near Squamish, B.C., in what would be the province’s first LNG project.

Premier Christy Clark says the $1.6-billion development will create 650 jobs during construction and 100 operational jobs over its estimated lifespan of 25 years.

The project has cleared regulatory hurdles at the provincial and federal levels, including securing federal approval in March of this year.

Woodfibre LNG is licensed to export about 2.1 million tonnes of LNG annually.

There are approximately 20 LNG proposals in B.C. on the drawing board.

Pacific Northwest LNG [website here], which is much larger than the Woodfibre LNG project, recently secured federal sanctioning and is now being reviewed by Malaysia’s state-owned company Petronas for final approval.

Now the bad news for the moribund Northern Gateway bitumen oil pipeline, plus very mixed news for the southerly Kinder Morgan twinning bitumen pipeline (both from Alberta):

1) Moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic coming soon: GarneauFederal Liberal cabinet to render a decision on Kinder Morgan by Dec. 19.

Federal Transportation Minister Marc Garneau is promising a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic off British Columbia’s North Coast by the end of this year, which would coincide with the government’s cabinet decision on the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

“That is a promise that we made. It’s a mandate item for me and we are going to be delivering on that,” Garneau [said to CBC]…

– Crude oil tanker ban for B.C.’s North Coast ordered by Trudeau…

Environmental groups have suggested a moratorium off B.C.’s North Coast would kill the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline [website here], which would carry bitumen from Alberta to Kitimat, B.C. The project is still recovering from a blow delivered by the Federal Court of Appeal, which overturned Enbridge’s approval because it found Ottawa failed to properly consult the First Nations affected by the pipeline.

Marine safety plan coming too

However, a moratorium could clear the path for the Kinder Morgan project [what, a transparent political quid pro quo? perish the thought], which could see the transmission of nearly 900,000 barrels a day of diluted oilsands bitumen to Vancouver’s harbour in the south.

Former Kitimat mayor Joanne Monaghan has questioned why a ban would only apply to the northern coast..

“Is there a difference between crude oil being spilled down south and crude oil being spilled in the north?” she told CBC.

Trudeau’s government needs to render a decision on Kinder Morgan by Dec. 19.

Garneau said he’ll also soon have an announcement on improving marine safety…

But see earlier:

No Tankers off Northern B.C.? Our New Government Provoking Fight With U.S.?

2) Kinder Morgan braces for Standing Rock-type protests: Energy company already talking to RCMP about security, months before next pipeline might be approved

A person only has to read a few of the stories about the Standing Rock protest or see some of the pictures and videos to get a sense of the hostile stalemate over the construction of the new Dakota Access pipeline [website here].

The protests in North Dakota began small and peaceful, but grew in support and captured the attention of the continent.

The tension continues to escalate as protestors chant, wave flags and set fires, while police have used rubber bullets, mace and Tasers.

The emotional conflict could move north across the border next year if Kinder Morgan receives provincial and federal approval to construct its Trans Mountain Expansion oil pipeline [website here] through parts of Alberta and British Columbia.

Even though the project may not go ahead, the Texas-based energy company is already bracing for the sizable security effort it may need. Installing nearly 1,000 kilometres of pipeline around mountains, rivers and other terrain is a challenge in itself, let alone co-ordinating contractors and hundreds of workers with protestors at the door step.

Pipeline companies review security after ‘reckless’ protest…

Pipeline activism is rising and Kinder Morgan knows it…

Meetings with RCMP

The preparations involve meeting with law enforcement.

“We’ve been in deep conversations with policing authorities, RCMP in the planning for our project — what can we anticipate and what their role needs to be,” said Anderson.

The RCMP, for its part, won’t provide any detail about those arrangements. Instead, it’s emphasizing its role as an impartial party…

Social license or social violence?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – New(ish) Philippines President Takes On US

The fellow is really (foolishly?) feeling his oats–at Foreign Policy‘s “Situation Report”:


Manilla turning everything on its head. If Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte makes good on his threats to walk away from his country’s 65-year-old alliance with the United States, FP’s Dan De Luce writes in a great piece on the latest South China Sea headache for the Obama administration, “the first casualty would likely be the U.S. military mission there, which has become a model for successful counterterrorism operations worldwide.”

Duterte has already warned that the U.S. military contingent of several hundred troops has to go, and on Wednesday [Sept. 28] said an upcoming joint military exercise would be the last with the United States. But his threat to push out the team of up to 100 U.S. Special Operations Forces, along with an additional 300 to 500 American conventional troops, “comes as concerns mount in Washington and Southeast Asia about the Islamic State’s efforts to spread its tentacles in the region,” De Luce says…

Remember those two Canadian hostages beheaded by ISIS-affiliate  Abu Sayyaf rebels in the Philippines. The president, for his part, appears to have his own penchant for extrajudicial killing.

Related:

South China Sea Update: Scarborough Shoal, China and Philippines

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – B.C. LNG Heartbreak Averted, for Now–Will Petronas et al. Go Ahead?

Further to this post,

B.C. LNG Heartbreak, Petronas Section

will the consortium of government-owned Asian companies led by the Malaysians actually green light the project? Market conditions are not particularly propitious:

Federal Liberals approve Petronas LNG project in B.C. — with numerous conditions

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has approved Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s $36 billion Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas project on British Columbia’s Pacific coast.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc made the announcement near Vancouver late Tuesday [Sept. 27]. It was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first decision on a major energy project after a pro-environment campaign swept him to power last year.

The project is “an important opportunity to grow our economy and shows how we are rebuilding Canadians’ trust in our environmental assessment process,” McKenna said.

The approval comes just as developers are shelving multibillion-dollar gas export projects from Australia to the U.S. amid weakening demand in Asia and Europe. Shipping consultants Poten & Partners forecast in March that at least a quarter of global LNG production would be “homeless” by 2021 as supplies surge.

The federal government placed 190 conditions on the project approval, which Petronas will have to meet in order to proceed. The conditions include a cap on carbon gas emissions. Petronas has said it will review the project after the government decision, which Trudeau had given himself until Oct. 2 to make.

No Guarantee

Carr has said the government would make its decision without any guarantees from the Malaysian state-owned energy company that the project would actually be built.

Pacific NorthWest includes an LNG facility on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert and a related gas pipeline and upstream components. It would ultimately produce up to 19.2 million metric tons a year of LNG, or what the company describes as up to one LNG tanker’s capacity each day.

The project was strongly supported by British Columbia’s provincial government, but local indigenous groups were divided amid concerns about its impact on salmon habitat. Trudeau had campaigned on stronger indigenous consultation.
Earlier on Tuesday, opponents of the project said they expected it to be approved and pledged legal action.

‘Adamant Opposition’

The best of British Columbian luck to the province. More here, here, and here (“Petronas in no rush to start”). Now what about those  pesky pipelines to carry product from the Alberta oil sands?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Rising Sun’s Yen for Defence Spending, Part 3

Further to this post and “Comments”, that yen keeps growing–at Defense Industry Daily’sRapid Fire“:


Japan’s ministry of defense is to request some $51 billion for its 2017 budget, a new record. The request comes as the government of Shinzo Abe further angles toward increasing the country’s military prowess and rewriting the constitution to remove a pacifist clause imposed on its armed forces at the end of the Second World War. An increasingly daring Chinese military has been a cause for worry for many of its neighbors, all of whom are currently rushing to modernize their naval and air capabilities with US and European hardware. If the funds are secured, Tokyo plans to funnel a portion of the money to its joint development of the new SM-3 Block 2A interceptor and upgrade its F-15 fighters…

That old Asian military cockpit with China as one, big, focus.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – CETA/TPP: Big Canadian Trade Deals Dead

A pretty grim picture in a piece at the Globe and Mail’s business section (that really should be in the main news section):

With CETA and TPP in trouble, what’s Canada’s Plan B on trade?

Jean-Sébastien Rioux is an associate professor of public policy and director of the international policy program at the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary.

Canada’s international-trade aspirations are facing serious problems, none of which are Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s fault, but all of which are likely to cause his government significant headaches in the short term.

It appears that both major free-trade agreements Canada had been poised to join – the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Europe and the Trans-Pacific Partnership – are now either dead or in a deep coma. The likely demise of both sweeping treaties is due to different immediate factors, but related to a general pushback against elitism and globalization by populations in Europe and the United States.

As for CETA, the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, recently reversed the EC’s previous direction to hold a vote to approve CETA in the European Parliament only; ratification of the trade treaty between the European Union and Canada will now have to proceed in each national legislature of the 28 EU members, in addition to the European Parliament. Given the anti-establishment and anti-trade forces in some EU countries, passage will be almost impossible. It appears that CETA is in a deep coma.

Worse, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is likely now dead because both major U.S. presidential candidates are on the record as opposing it. Republican nominee Donald Trump used opposition to the TPP – as well as to the 25-year-old North American free-trade agreement – as a populist rallying point for his insurgent campaign. So did Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, albeit from a different political perspective, namely the left’s natural aversion to free trade and globalization. But the result is the same: TPP became a dirty word in this U.S. election cycle.

The nail in the TPP’s coffin may have been hammered by Mr. Sanders, in his speech to the Democratic National Convention endorsing Hillary Clinton. In his tirade, he appears to have announced that Ms. Clinton would not be supporting the TPP – perhaps it was one condition attached to his endorsement of her candidacy. The Democratic Party platform does suggest that support for the TPP is facing a higher bar.

So, what is Canada’s Plan B?..

Read on.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Summer 2016 Edition of CDA Institute’s “ON TRACK”

Contents via a message from the CDAI–full edition is here:


– “Editorial – What’s Wrong with Canada’s Reserves?” by Dr. Howard Coombs
– “Global Nuclear Threats, Missile Defence,
and the Trudeau Government’s Defence Policy
Review” by Dr. Andrew Futter and Jeffrey Collins
– “China-Japan relations and the politics of threat” by Benoit Hardy-Chartrand
– “A Perfect Storm: Europe in the Grip of Two Crises” by Dr. Carl Hodge
– “Arctic Security: Thaw or Re-freeze?” by Andreas Østhagen
– “La reconnaissance de l’Abkhazie par la Géorgie et l’Union européenne: vers une nouvelle approche géo-stratégique du Caucase ?” par Sophie Clamadieu
– “Daesh at Its Zenith? The challenge of what
happens next” by Richard Shimooka
– “Lessons from the Paris and Brussels Terror Attacks” by Dr. Michael Zekulin
– “Unexamined Consequences: Leadership Decapitation
and the Rise of ISIL” by Dr. Haroro Ingram and Dr. Craig Whiteside
– “Strategic Thinking: Empowering Success in the Contemporary Operating Environment” by Dr. Emily Spencer

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds