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US defense secretary to visit Indonesia amid increased tension with China

first_imgWith the United States renewing its campaign against China in the Indo-Pacific theater, Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed his intention to visit Indonesia to strengthen the cooperation through arms sales despite recent reluctance from the Indonesian side.Speaking in a virtual briefing organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Esper said his department encouraged all allies and partners to purchase American equipment.“Why? Because first and foremost it brings us together, secondly it improves our interoperability in case something does happen and third we think they are a better alternative to anything else out there. So for those reasons we continue to talk about arms sales between our countries,” he said. Earlier this month, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), an agency under the US Department of Defense, announced the possible sale of eight V-22 Osprey aircraft and related equipment worth some US$2 billion to Indonesia. However, Indonesian officials appeared to be backtracking from the deal, with one saying the purchase was “not included in the plan for the development of the primary defense system.”The last US weapon systems Indonesia acquired was the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters with naval capabilities. The contract value was US$1.42 billion for eight helicopters and related equipment. All eight helicopters have been delivered to the Army Aviation Center in Semarang.Esper and Prabowo had a phone call discussion on bilateral defense priorities, including military readiness and defense acquisitions in late March.“My view is that we can continue to meet and have discussions. I’ve done it several times with the defense minister and I hope to visit Indonesia during my tenure as well,” Esper said. He said his country had good relations with Indonesia and he had spoken to Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto several times this year.“As we talk, he understands that we fully support Indonesia’s sovereignty, that we support as partners trying to push back against China’s malign behavior in the region particularly as they contest Indonesia’s EEZ [exclusive economic zones] there,” he said.Earlier this year, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had to visit Indonesia’s Natuna regency and deploy coast guard patrol boats and Navy warships to ward off Chinese fishing vessels assisted by its own coast guard operating in Indonesia’s EEZ.A country can exercise its sovereign rights within 200 nautical miles of its EEZ and full sovereignty within 12 nautical miles of its territorial seas.Indonesia has no overlapping territorial claim with China, but the Natuna Sea is located adjacent to the South China Sea, a highly disputed body of water, a majority of which is claimed by China based on historic rights that were invalidated by a 2016 international tribunal ruling.The South China Sea issue remains a thorn in China’s relations with its Southeast Asian neighbors, who are increasingly concerned over China’s apparent militarization in the disputed waters. Its aggressive claims have led to clashes with Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, some of the countries located around the waters.The US has reasserted its position over the South China Sea maritime dispute in the last weeks by calling out Beijing’s activities in the disputed waters as “completely unlawful”.Speaking about the US Indo-Pacific priorities, Esper said the US military was emphasizing the three pillars of the Indo-Pacific strategy: preparedness, strengthening partnerships and promoting a more networked region.He asserted that the military played a role in the whole-of-government approach in the region. “We are not only prioritizing the development and deployment of game-changing technologies such as hypersonic weapons, 5G and artificial intelligence, but we are also investing in platforms critical to the Indo-Pacific and transforming the way we fight,” the secretary said.He also welcomed the growing trend in multilateral cooperation in the region, including talks between defense ministers under the Five Eyes, an intelligence alliance between the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as other multilateral discussion with Japan and Australia.”We are encouraging Indo-Pacific nations to expand their own intra-regional security relationships and networks of like-minded partners,” he said. Topics :last_img read more

Sugar baron’s historic home comes complete with ballroom

first_imgThe home of the founder of a key sugar mill in the rum and sugar heartland. has its own ballroom – and it was used often.A HOME built for a sugar baron linked to two Queensland icons – sugar and rum – has hit the market complete with its own ballroom. Known as the Old Cran Home, the 120-year-old sprawling historic home in Bourbong Street, Bundaberg, was built for John Cran after his family founded the historic Millaquin mill. Perfect spot to laze about on a Sunday afternoon.It’s also significant because it was designed by one of the areas most prominent architects Frederic Herbert Faircloth “who was responsible for the design of many major buildings in Bundaberg, as well as rebuilding a significant portion of the Childers CBD following a fire in 1902”.The house was restored by current owner Peter Thompson, who owned the historic home for 22 years before deciding to put it on the market. This house was built for the Cran family who started one of the region’s historic mills. Source: CoreLogicMr Cran, his brother Robert Junior and father Robert had started the Millaquin sugar mill in 1882, with the sprawling homestead built in 1896 – nine years after the first Bundaberg rum was bottled.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home2 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor8 hours agoBundaberg has recognised the home as being of key significance to the region. Source: CoreLogic.The house has verandas running north and east around a projecting entry to the home, and according to government records the sugar baron would host balls at the property – thus the highly polished ballroom. The current owners have done a sympathetic renovation to modernise the homeThe home which sits on the corner of Bourbong and Hope Streets was recognised as being of great importance to the sugar and rum heartland because of the Crans contribution to development of the sugar industry and establishment of one of its largest refineries.center_img The ballroom floor is still polished after all these years. Source: CoreLogic.Verandas which run north and east off a projected entry to the house contained built in seating for such occasions.“These seats were utilised by smokers during balls held on the property,” the Bundaberg records said. The home hosted many balls. Source: CoreLogicThe ballroom also has bay window, fireplace and ceiling roses and the five bedroom home also has a morning room with fireplace and chandelier in place and a more recent addition of an inground pool.last_img read more

Cricket News Harmanpreet Kaur given ICC honour, named captain of Women’s World Twenty20 XI

first_imgNew Delhi: Harmanpreet Kaur, whose captaincy has come under the scanner for dropping star batsman Mithali Raj in the semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20, has been appointed as the skipper for the ICC Women’s World T20 XI. The list includes Harmanpreet’s vice-captain Smriti Mandhana and legspinner Poonam Yadav, along with several star players from West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Bangladesh. A selection panel comprising former players and commentators Ian Bishop, Anjum Chopra and Ebony Rainford-Brent, journalist Melinda Farrell and ICC’s general manager – cricket, Geoff Allardice, picked up the team on the basis of the players’ performances in the tournament.Read More |Harmanpreet-Mithali ‘spat’ throws us back to these top fights in IndiaThe list includes Australia star Alyssa Healy, who was named the player of the tournament and star all-rounder Ellyse Perry. West Indies’ Twenty20 star Deandra Dottin also features in the side along with England’s leading pacer Anya Shrubsole. There is only one Pakistan player in Javeria Khan while Bangladesh’s Jahanara Alam is the 12th player.Read More |Sourav Ganguly to Mithali Raj: ‘Welcome to the group’Australia won the ICC Women’s World T20 title for the fourth time when they defeated England by eight wickets in the final at North Sound, Antigua on Sunday. However, the appointment of Harmanpreet as skipper comes at a time when there are reports of an alleged ‘spat’ between Mithali and Harmanpreet.Dropping Mithali raises questionsA lot of eyebrows were raised when Harmanpreet decided to drop Mithali for the semi-final against England. India suffered a collapse of eight for 23 and lost the semi-final by eight wickets. Speaking after the game, Harmanpreet said the decision to bench Mithali was taken for the team. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. One game doesn’t decide whether we are a good team or a bad team.Read More |Mithali Raj’s manager lashes out at India skipper Harmanpreet KaurHowever, following then result, there were reports of an alleged ‘spat’ within the team. Mithali’s manager Annisha Gupta dubbed Harmanpreet Kaur “manipulative, lying, immature and undeserving” as captain. The controversy has snowballed with the Committee of Adminstrators (CoA) demanding Mithali’s fitness logs. The CoA also sought an explanation as to how the minutes of the meeting regarding the team selection for the semi-finals was leaked to the media.ICC Women’s World T20 playing XIAlyssa Healy (Australia), Smriti Mandhana (India), Amy Jones (England, wicketkeeper), Harmanpreet Kaur (India, Captain), Deandra Dottin (Windies), Javeria Khan (Pakistan), Ellyse Perry (Australia), Leigh Kasperek (New Zealand), Anya Shrubsole (England), Kirstie Gordon (England), Poonam Yadav (India), 12th player: Jahanara Alam (Bangladesh). For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more