Defense chiefs from four Southeast Asian nations have agreed to begin coordinated air patrols over the pirate-infested Malacca Strait next week to quell foreign jitters about security in the world's busiest shipping lane, officials said yesterday.
Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand will each donate two aircraft for the "Eyes in the Sky" plan, Indonesian navy Colonel Surya Wiranto told reporters during a two-day international conference in Jakarta about the 900km waterway.
The planes will begin regular patrols on Tuesday and will have one representative from each of the four nations on board, he said.
More than 50,000 ships, carrying half the world's oil and a third of its commerce, use the Malacca Strait each year.
The waterway, which is bordered by Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, is infested by pirates and there are fears that international terrorists might target ships passing through it.
"We need eyes from the air to inform the officials below to fight piracy and other maritime crimes," said Wiranto, who is the assistant of operations for the Indonesian navy's western fleet. "The aircraft will only be allowed to patrol the waterway and will not be allowed to cross over to land."
Despite the mounting security concerns, Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda on Wednesday criticized a decision by a leading international shipping insurer to include the Malacca Strait on its list of the 20 most dangerous waterways in the world.
He said Lloyds' decision was "erroneous" because none of the countries bordering the strait were at war with each other, and a recent deal had brought peace to Indonesia's tsunami-battered Aceh province in the channel's northern approaches.
Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia -- working to clean up the strait's tarnished image -- signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with the International Maritime Organization, the World Bank and a group of shipping companies to monitor every ship that passes through the waterway.
RE-EDUCATION: The ambassador to Australia told reporters that he understood there ‘might be a process for the people in Taiwan to have a correct understanding of China’ China’s ambassador to Australia yesterday said that Beijing is prepared to use “all necessary means” to prevent Taiwan from being independent, saying there can be “no compromise” on its “one China” principle. Chinese Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian (肖千) repeatedly told the National Press Club in Canberra that the US was to blame for the recent escalation in tensions, adding that China’s decision to launch ballistic missiles in live-fire exercises in response to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan was “legitimate and justified.” Xiao said that after a “good start” with the new government of Australian Prime Minister
PROPAGANDA LEAFLETS: Seoul voiced ‘strong regret’ as Kim’s sister threatened to eradicate South Korean authorities for sending the virus across the border North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suffered from a “high fever” during a recent COVID-19 outbreak, his sister Kim Yo-jong said yesterday, as she vowed to “eradicate” South Korean authorities if they continued to tolerate propaganda leaflets the regime blames for spreading the virus. Kim Yo-jong blamed “South Korean puppets” for sending “dirty objects” across the border in leaflets carried by balloons, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported. The revelation of her brother’s illness marked an unusual admission for a regime that rarely comments on the leader’s health — and then only to show that he shares the struggles of
Newly married and with his first child on the way, auto worker Wang (王) wanted to move into the apartment he bought in Wuhan three years ago, but those hopes were dashed by China’s ballooning property crisis. Saddled with nearly US$300,000 in debt and with his unit nowhere near completion, the 34-year-old decided he had enough and stopped making mortgage payments. He is among numerous home buyers across dozens of cities in China who have boycotted payments over fears that their properties will not be completed by cash-strapped, debt-laden developers. “They said construction would resume soon,” Wang said, only giving his surname. “But
A landmark sexual harassment case in China yesterday returned to court after an earlier ruling dealt a blow to the country’s fledgling #MeToo movement. Zhou Xiaoxuan (周曉璇) stepped forward in 2018 to accuse state TV host Zhu Jun (朱軍) of forcibly kissing and groping her during her 2014 internship at the broadcaster. While the case of Zhou, now 29, inspired many others to share their experiences of sexual assault publicly and sparked a social media storm, a court ruled last year there was insufficient evidence to back her allegation. Zhou appealed, and returned to court for another hearing yesterday in Beijing. “I still feel